53rd Annual Meeting: Statement by Temporary Alternate Governor for China, Liu Mingzhi
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It is my great pleasure to attend the 53rd Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Please allow me to extend my sincere thanks to the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Premier Minister Hon. Philip J. Pierre of the Saint Lucia, the host government of Saint Lucia, and management and staff for the excellent organisation of the two-week events in virtual/hybrid format.

2022 was a year full of difficulties and challenges for the world, and the Caribbean region is no exception. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over; the Russia-Ukraine conflict has intensified geopolitical tensions, pushing up food and energy prices, leading to worldwide inflation, and climate-related natural disasters continue to escalate, bringing new uncertainty to global economic development and stability. Faced with such severe and complex external pressures, countries in the Region have generally adopted strong policy measures, and the regional economy has maintained a good recovery momentum, achieving an overall annual economic growth of 10.3%. The labor market has improved, with a significant drop of t h e unemployment rate in some member countries.  Meanwhile, under the leadership of President Hyginus Gene Leon, the CDB actively participates in regional development agendas. By 2022, focusing on building “social resilience, production resilience, environmental resilience, fiscal resilience and institutional resilience”, the CDB has approved a total of US$ 192.3 million in loans and grants, an increase of 4.4% compared to 2021, making important contributions to regional overall resilience and sustainable development. We highly commend these achievements.

The theme of this Annual Meeting is “Marshaling Finance for Development: Access to Adequate and Affordable Financing”. In fact, financing for development has always been a major challenge for developing economies, and solving this problem requires joint efforts of the public sector, private sector, and international organisations. As an important multilateral development bank in the Caribbean region, the CDB has the needed good credit ratings and financial resources and can play a more important role in regional development financing. First, it is important to make good use of current policy tools such as PBOs and SDF, continuously increase project approval and fund utilization efficiency, and improve the capacity of borrowing member countries (BMCs) by helping them build financial resilience through technical assistance, policy advice, and other means.  Second, expanding funding sources through multiple channels is necessary. In the current situation where the public sector is generally facing funding constraints, we encourage the CDB to innovate financial instruments and explore ways to attract and leverage more private sector funding through joint financing, syndicated loans, equity investments, and other means to serve regional development. In addition, given the current trend of rising interest rates of major currencies, it is important for the CDB to maintain its credit rating of AA+ to ensure favorable loan conditions for (BMCs).  In the long term, we encourage the CDB to continue improving its risk management and institutional governance, hence to push its international credit rating from AA+ to AAA.

China attaches great importance to bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the Caribbean region through trade, investment and cultural exchange. We will maintain close communication with the CDB and its member states, and spare no effort in supporting the CDB in key areas such as regional infrastructure, environmental protection and green economy, private sector development, poverty reduction, education transformation and pandemic response. We are also ready to share our development experiences to help promote sustainable and inclusive development in the Caribbean region. Within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, we look forward to deepening cooperation with countries in the Caribbean region.

Finally, I wish the Annual Meeting a great success.