BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 31, 2018 (CMC) – The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) recorded strong growth, and exceeded targets in approvals and disbursements, in 2017 .
According to CDB President, Dr. Warren Smith, these were highlights in the bank’s 2017 annual report.
“The Bank was able to respond, quickly and meaningfully, to the various setbacks and the challenges that Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) faced during the year. With this level of support, CDB was able to maintain its position, as a leading source of long-term development financing and capacity-building in the Caribbean,” Smith said.
In 2017, the Bank approved capital loans and technical assistance interventions totaling US$ 364 million, an increase of 18 percent, compared with 2016.
Disbursements to its BMCs rose by 13 percent to US$233 million, during the year.
The report also details CDB’s economic outlook and review for the Caribbean region.
The Bank reports that in 2017, on average, there was an overall uptick in economic growth of 0.5 percent in BMCs, led by a rebound in oil prices, and supported by buoyant tourism and construction activities.
“Fiscal balances remained weak, in most cases, and public sector debt continued to be worryingly high in many BMCs,” according to the review.
The Bank forecasts that the regional economy will grow by 1.8 percent in 2018, due to anticipated improvements in global economic growth, with risks tilted to the downside.
“Mitigating these risks will require improved resilience on many levels. Macroeconomic stability, increased competitiveness, improved human development, and environmental preparedness are conditions that are necessary to improve resilience, and ensure sustainable and inclusive growth and development,” the report notes.
In the newly-released publication, CDB also reports on its project performance, across several sectors, including environmental sustainability, in which the institution provided Emergency Relief Grants totaling US$800,000 to Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
In renewable energy and energy efficiency, the report said the bank continued to promote its streetlight retrofitting program, encouraging BMCs to undertake network-wide replacement and sustainable disposal of inefficient high-pressure sodium lamps with LED lamps.
In 2017, loans were approved for streetlight retrofitting in Jamaica and Suriname, and the implementation of similar projects in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines advanced. When these projects are fully implemented, savings of at least 50 percent in streetlight energy consumption, system-wide, are expected.
Concerning regional cooperation and integration, the bank completed the implementation of 28 projects, under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy and the Economic Partnership Agreement Standby Facilities. Total disbursements in 2017 were US$1.4 million.
The release of the CDB’s Annual Report coincides with the Annual Meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors, the theme of which is “resilience”.