The Government of the United Kingdom recently approved a £4.5 million contribution to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Special Development Fund to be used to support countries in the region with their COVID-19 recovery. The Special Development Fund is CDB’s largest pool of concessionary funds, which are used to address poverty and human development challenges throughout the Caribbean region.
The UK is already the largest bilateral donor to the region and is the second largest contributor to the Special Development Fund. This new announcement follows CDB having recently successfully met agreed upon performance targets.
This support also follows recent announcements of the UK contributing £3 million to the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) for the provision of essential medical supplies in the region and a further £2 million to the World Food Programme and others to scale up assistance for the most vulnerable households and to counter domestic violence against women and children. UK Minister for the Caribbean Baroness Sugg said: “The UK Government is proud to support our Caribbean friends and partners in these challenging times and, in particular, of the excellent work being delivered through CDB’s concessional Special Development Fund, which targets those most in need.
We are delighted to approve this further funding to help Caribbean countries better cope with the COVID-19 crisis, mitigate the wider social and economic impacts and protect the most vulnerable. This support complements the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF) which is already supporting critical infrastructure developments across the region”. The £330 million UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF), implemented through the Caribbean Development Bank, is supporting 15 major infrastructure projects in the region.
In light of COVID-19, UKCIF projects are becoming vitally important as a source for employment, supporting sector developments and facilitating medium-term economic recovery in the region. As part of its wider response to COVID-19 in the region, the UK is also supporting a range of other partners such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) with COVID-19 modelling and surveillance. And globally, the UK Government has committed £774 million to support efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, find a vaccine and save lives around the world.
Notes to editors DFID leads the UK’s work to help to tackle the global challenges of our time and is building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world. The Special Development Fund is CDB’s largest pool of concessionary funding, offering loans on “softer” terms than those that are applied in CDB ordinary operations, i.e. longer maturities/grace periods and lower interest rates.
In 2018, CDB disbursed $33.6 million worth of loans and $15.3 million worth of grants from the SDF to address the most significant development challenges in the region. These challenges included the region’s particular vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, and the SDF played a key role in building countries’ resilience to this, reflected in 2017 when the majority of SDF loans were used to assist recovery efforts following damage caused by extreme rainfall events and Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
This tangible demonstration of the UK’s commitment to the Caribbean Development Bank and to the Caribbean – which includes many Commonwealth countries – will help beneficiary countries to further resuscitate their economies in these challenging times.
The objective of UKCIF is to build high quality infrastructure – roads, ports, sea defences and other public assets – which will provide a boost to economic growth, help reduce poverty and increase inclusion for marginalised groups, including people with disabilities. UKCIF is operational in eight ODA-eligible Commonwealth Caribbean countries (above) and Montserrat (an Overseas Territory of the UK). As part of its wider response to COVID-19 in the region, DFID Caribbean is also reallocating resources from its £400 million development programme to help tackle the crisis and support countries that are most at risk.
The UK is leading international efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine. We provided £250 million of UK aid to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to rapidly develop a coronavirus vaccine, the biggest donation of any country.
The UK has pledged £200 million to help global organisations and charities tackle coronavirus in vulnerable countries. This includes £130 million for UN appeals, including £65 million for the World Health Organization (WHO); £50 million for International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals; and £20 million for international NGOs, including UK charities, to tackle the virus.