The Caribbean and the IDB

Strong support to English-speaking countries and Suriname

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has strengthened its historic partnership with member countries of the English-speaking Caribbean and Suriname.

IDB General Manager for the Caribbean Department, Gerard Johnson, hailed results achieved by the countries in the region by discussing and identifying the main areas in which the IDB and other international and regional organizations may cooperate with each other and with the countries. Johnson ratified the firm commitment of the Bank in supporting countries to tackle their economic, financial, social and environmental challenges.

IDB lending to borrowing member countries in the English-speaking Caribbean and Suriname reached more than US$900 million per year in 2010 and 2011. With an active portfolio of US$3.5 billion and a pipeline of around US$1.5 billion, the IDB is deeply invested in these countries.

The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago—along with Dutch-speaking Suriname—are brought together by commerce, geography and traditions. Their economic situations and development challenges, however, may vary widely.

They share some common development challenges. One is the need to become more competitive in the global economy. Other challenges include more economic growth, overcoming the threat of macroeconomic imbalances that weaken development efforts, the need to strengthen public-private dialogue to promote private sector development, and institutional capacity constraints that affect efficiency and public policy. The global economic slowdown has made these challenges more daunting.

The IDB also partners with CARICOM to support regional integration and provides financing and technical support for the members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.

Key Areas of Focus

The IDB finances programs to promote sustainable energy, infrastructure strengthening, governance, fiscal reform and citizen security, as well as furthering reforms in social sectors, such as health, housing and education in the Caribbean.

In the area of competitive regional integration and private sector development, the IDB finances projects in the trade sector and fosters competitiveness. Compete Caribbean is an initiative promoting competitiveness in 15 countries in the region through a partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency.

The IDB is also helping these countries to deal with the effects of climate change and providing support for environmental sustainability. Several new projects seek to improve disaster risk management and coastal infrastructure in the Caribbean region as a whole to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The Inter-American Development Bank

The IDB is a leader in social and economic development and one of the largest sources of multilateral financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. The Bank works with governments, companies, and civil society organizations from its 48 member countries, offering financial products and resources to help the region reduce poverty and inequality in a sustainable way.

The IDB is a member of the IDB Group, which also includes the Multilateral Investment Fund and the Inter-American Investment Corporation to support the private sector. The members of the IDB Group invest in projects to improve the business and investment environment and to support companies with projects that promote social and economic development.