Guyana closer to tapping UK infrastructure grant

Guyana and other Caribbean countries are closer to accessing funding to build new roads, bridges, ports and other vital infrastructure under the United Kingdom’s Caribbean Infrastructure (UKCIF) Programme.

A release on Monday from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) said that the UKCIF was ratified on March 9th by the Board of the CDB, paving the way for implementation of the programme.

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) will provide up to £300m in grant financing from January 2016 to March 2020 to Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Montserrat.

“As a founding member of the CDB, the UK has worked hand in hand to chart the future of the region, along with other member countries throughout our 46 years. The UKCIF will boost development and growth in the region,” CDB President Dr. Warren Smith said.

Guyana’s Finance Minister Winston Jordan (right) and other country representatives who attended the CDB meeting (CDB photo)
Guyana’s Finance Minister Winston Jordan (right) and other country representatives who attended the CDB meeting (CDB photo)

He added that: “Beneficiary countries will be able to use this funding to revisit essential large scale projects that have had to be shelved because of the constrained fiscal space and severe indebtedness of many of our countries. We appreciate this grant from the Government of the UK as, successful completion of the projects will result in improvement in the lives of the citizens these countries,”   Dr Smith said.

The release said that all projects will be submitted to the CDB by the national governments and may be for both capital projects as well as technical assistance.

The release said that the projects must be anchored within the CDB’s strategic objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development; and promoting good governance.

The release added that it is expected that successful completion of projects under UKCIF will result in job opportunities; improvements in livelihoods; a drop in poverty; increased resilience to climate change; and positive policy action in the region.

The programme was announced by UK Prime Minister David Cameron last September in Jamaica and makes the UK one of the largest bilateral donors to the region.

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