Calls are being made for the Bridgetown-based CARICOM Development Fund (CDF), set up in 2008 to assist disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors within the Caribbean Community, to adopt a regional rather than country-specific approach to financing.
And suggestions have also been made that the CDF, now marking its fifth year and the end of its first cycle of operations, should not only raise the level of its project financing and target new types of activities, but also simultaneously seek increased support from its members and donors.
CDF chairman Dr Alvin Hilaire last Thursday noted that in the first five-year cycle, the funding arrangement consisted of contributions from member states and external partners and covered grants, interest subsidies and concessionary loans.
“The arrangement has worked well so far by initially allowing a commitment of financing of projects to the tune of U$41.9 million from contributions/donations amounting to US$100 million,” he told the fourth meeting of the CDF’s contributors and development partners at Courtyard Marriott, Hastings, Christ Church.
“A scaling up of the project financing over the next five years or so would require a commensurate expansion in the contributions from members and donors.”
Hilaire said that apart from the question of where the funding should be coming from, the organisation also has to reflect on what type of activities it should be financing.
“The Fund is already involved in a broad range of projects in the private and public sectors and in the fields of tourism, infrastructure, education, microfinance, and agriculture,” he noted. “All of these projects are linked to assisting individual eligible members to be better prepared for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
“However, there have been recent calls for financing new types of projects such as those with regional or sub-regional dimensions – to be provided simultaneously to groups of members – or venture capital activities.”
Hilaire said the list of countries eligible for financing (Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts and St Vincent and the Grenadines plus Guyana, which is classified as a Highly Indebted Poor Country) could also change given the current economic climate in the Caribbean.
“In this context,” he added, “there has been heightened focus among international agencies and Caribbean states themselves on adoption of practical projects to stimulate short-term growth while maintaining disciplined macroeconomic policies.” (AB)
www.nationnews.com | 9/22/14 12:00 PM