Guyana is among eight Caribbean countries and one British Overseas Territory that have moved closer to accessing funding to build new roads, bridges, ports and other vital infrastructure as the United Kingdom’s Caribbean Infrastructure (UKCIF) Programme becomes operational.
The UKCIF was ratified on March 9, 2016 by the Board of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), paving the way for implementation of the game-changing programme, the Bank said in a statement on Monday.
The UK Department for International Development (DfID) will provide up to £300 million in grant financing from January 2016 to March 2020 to Guyana, along with Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St 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,” the statement quoted CDB President, Dr Warren Smith as saying.
He added that the beneficiary countries would 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 in these countries,” Dr Smith added.
It is expected that successful completion of projects under UKCIF will result in employment opportunities; improvements in livelihoods; poverty reduction; increased resilience to climate change and positive policy action in the Region. Investment in infrastructure means better access to services as well as economic opportunities for both men and women.
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 interventions must be anchored within CDB’s strategic objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, and promoting good governance.
The Programme was first announced by UK Prime Minister David Cameron last September in Jamaica and makes the UK one of the largest bilateral donors to the Region.