The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced its new Build Forward initiative, a US$3.5-billion multi-year programme to help Caribbean countries sustainably recover while making technological leaps that will facilitate a transformational future.
Build Forward includes a multi-donor facility to provide targeted grant and concessional financing for smart and resilient projects. The facility is expected to mobilise US$1.5 billion in resources for a series of activities that include advisory services, project preparation and catalysing private capital for investments in resilient infrastructure, nature and disaster-risk based solutions.
The initiative was backed by IDB’s six Caribbean member countries; Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname at the IDB annual meeting of Caribbean Governors held virtually yesterday.
IDB management briefed the governors about Build Forward ahead of the annual meeting of IDB Group, which will take place March 17-21 in Barranquilla, Colombia, in a virtual format.
“Many Caribbean economies have been devastated by a tourism collapse caused by COVID-19, as well as a series of natural disasters. A key part of helping countries grow in ways that benefit all citizens is overcoming large infrastructure investment deficits, estimated at five per cent of [gross domestic product] for Latin America and the Caribbean. The multi-donor facility and other financing mechanisms will help governments finance key resilient investments at a time of limited fiscal space,” the bank said.
According to the ODB, Build Forward will provide advanced digital-based solutions in areas such as schools and hospitals, grid systems, highways and more, foster partnerships that will link private sector investors to smart resilient investments that will yield returns and solve a development challenge, as well as leverage partnerships with organisations such as the Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator (CCSA) which is already supporting initiatives to build resilience in the region.
“We are thrilled to have donors join our Build Forward initiative, which will prepare the people and places of the Caribbean for the future we create together,” said Therese Turner-Jones, the IDB general manager of the Department of the Caribbean region.
“Build Forward is focused on giving citizens of the Caribbean the opportunity to thrive in the more digital future. It will provide better infrastructure services for all citizens, creating jobs, reducing poverty, and bringing much-needed advanced technology into the region.”