Officials from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), are heading to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where they will host the First Formal Negotiation Meeting for the replenishment of the Bank’s Special Development Fund (Unified) [SDF(U)]. The replenishment process is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

The SDF(U) Negotiation Meeting takes place at the Beachcombers Hotel in St. Georges on 10th March. It will follow meetings of CDB’s Board of Directors, which will also be held in St. Vincent from 7th to 9th March. The CDB expects more than 70 attendees at the Negotiation Meeting, during which bank officials will hold discussions with current and prospective contributors to the Fund.

“We are pleased to be opening negotiations to replenish the SDF(U) in St. Vincent, a beneficiary of the Fund. The SDF(U) is one of CDB’s most vital sources of funding that helps meet the Caribbean Region’s high-priority development needs. We look forward to sharing with our partners the progress our borrowing member countries are making through the Fund, and to putting a spotlight on new opportunities to invest in the future of women, men and children in our most vulnerable communities,” said Yvette Lemonias-Seale, Vice President (Corporate Services), and Bank Secretary, CDB, who has oversight of the meetings.

The SDF(U) is the bank’s largest pool of concessionary funds, which are used to address poverty and human development challenges throughout the Caribbean region.

Contributions to the Fund come from all member countries of CDB, as well as non-members. The SDF(U) has a four-year replenishment cycle. The current cycle, the Fund’s eighth, covers the period 2013 to 2016. From 1970 to the end of 2015, SDF(U) contributors had approved USD95.6 million in loans and USD16.8 million in grants for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The event schedule also includes field visits on 11th March, during which meeting participants will experience firsthand some of the projects CDB has funded with SDF(U) resources in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Stops will include Fairhall Government School; the New Grounds, Adelphi and Chapmans Adult Literacy Co-ordinating Group (NACALCOG); St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua; and the Women in Agriculture Langley Co-operative.

In addition to these projects, recent SDF(U) investments in St. Vincent and the Grenadines include:

  • Construction of the Port Elizabeth Clinic and upgrade of the Bequia Hospital;
  • Rehabilitation and reconstruction of critical infrastructure damaged by the torrential rainfall events in 2013 and 2014; and
  • The upgrading and building of schools and early childhood education centres across the country, and training for officers in the Ministry of Education, principals and teachers under the Second Basic Education Project

SDF(U) resources also finance the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), CDB’s flagship poverty reduction program. The BNTF continues to make a difference in meeting the basic needs of the poor in 10 countries, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In 2015, initiatives in St. Vincent and the Grenadines totalling USD1.6 million were approved for funding under BNTF, spanning areas such as education, health, infrastructure and skills training.

“We appreciate the tremendous support of the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in planning and co-ordinating the upcoming events, and look forward to successful outcomes from the meetings,” said Lemonias-Seale.

The Caribbean Development Bank is a regional financial institution established 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of member countries. The bank’s founding president was noted economist and Nobel Laureate, Sir Arthur Lewis. There are nineteen regional borrowing member countries – including Guyana and Suriname and four regional non-borrowing member countries – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.  Members outside of the region are Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the U.K.
Klao Bell-Lewis
Head of Corporate Communications
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Source: API

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