New World Bank programme targets SMEs, infrastructure

(Jamaica Observer) – The International Finance Corporation (IFC) plans to lend US$120 million ($13.2 billion) to small businesses by 2018 under the latest country partnership strategy (CPS) with the World Bank.

The private lending arm of the World Bank also has its sights set on Highway 2000, which is expected to see the number of motorists using the toll roads double to two million a year by the end of 2016, when the new legs running from Kingston to St Ann are scheduled for completion.

Having already been given authorisation to leverage up to US$500 million in the local capital markets, the IFC expects to issue three local currency bonds to finance new investments in logistics, agribusiness and information and communications technology (ICT) by the end of 2017.

What’s more, about half of the resources to implement the CPS will be provided through investment project financing in line with the goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, according to a World Bank statement issued yesterday.

Indeed, the World Bank also sees itself supporting the build out of the 360 megawatt (MW) electricity generation slated for the next three years — the multilateral plans to carve a new energy loan out of the US$510 million it has committed for support to Jamaica up to 2017.

On the other hand, the latest World Bank programme has a strong focus on SMEs and enabling business on a whole.

For example, through new and existing loans, 1,500 micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) agricultural producers are to be trained on food safety compliance with focus on exports by the end of 2016, while two mobile and climate innovation incubators are to be established by the end of next year.

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