The IDB’s Caribbean Regional Governors meet in Washington, D.C. to analyze 2016 economic outlook
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) hosted the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Governors of the Caribbean Country Department (CCB) in Washington on March 3-4. The meeting was to exchange ideas, discuss their economies, and what role the IDB can play. Topics discussed at the meeting included responses to the effects of climate change, specific initiatives to diversify the region’s energy matrix and promote sustainable development, and the unique challenges to the Caribbean sub-region posed by de-risking and the possible interruption of correspondent banking relationships.
The Caribbean sub-region was among the hardest hit by the 2008 global economic downturn, and most Caribbean economies have still not recovered pre-2008 growth rates. Throughout the Americas, the region’s economies registered a mix of good and poor economic results with some nations suffering sharp declines in commodity prices and others experiencing increases in tourism during 2015. As a whole, the Latin American and Caribbean region posted 3.8% growth in GDP. The countries of the Caribbean grew at 1.5 percent in 2015 and are projected to grow at 1.6 percent in 2016.
Led by discussions on the region’s economic performance, the two-day meeting reviewed the details of the Bank’s operations in 2015 and discussed challenges and opportunities for 2016. Topics discussed at the meeting included the world economic outlook and financing options for the region.
Addressing senior officials from the IDB’s CCB member countries, IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno stated: “Given that many of our borrowing member countries face strong macroeconomic headwinds, it’s essential for the Bank to preserve its capacity to support growth recovery and stability. Our priority will continue to be supporting the region’s most vulnerable economies.”
The gathering also gave senior IDB managers an opportunity to explain the impact of the recent reorganization of the various departments of the Bank that work with private-sector operations. The new entity within the IDB Group was created in recognition of the importance of public-private partnerships in the financing of infrastructure and how the IDB is better positioned to promote development in the Caribbean.
According to data presented during the meeting, the IDB registered some significant growth in its 2015 loans to CCB member countries, which include The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago:
- In 2015, the IDB approved US$557.2 million for improving the Caribbean’s citizen security, energy and transportation infrastructure and expanding the efficiency and coverage of basic social services in the region. Disbursements in 2015 totaled US$351.3 million.
- In 2015, the IDB approved one of the Bank’s largest-ever private sector loans to a CCB country for US$175.0 million for the Kingston Container Terminal Project in Jamaica.
- The IDB also approved US$17.0 million in grant financing to its CCB member countries. These operations provided support to Caribbean regional initiatives in tourism, trade facilitation, logistics, energy integration, and transport.
About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.
- Christopher Barton