The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed today the first development loan agreement worth $10 million in SFD’s headquarters in Riyadh with Hon. Isacc Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation.
The agreement will involve the construction of business incubation centers across three islands in the Bahamas to support the growth of the tourism sector, and signifies SFD’s commitment to supporting sustainable economic development in developing countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) around the world.
With decades of expertise since operations began in 1975, SFD has implemented more than 700 development projects and programs in 88 countries. Therefore, the signing today marks SFD’s first presence in the Bahamas, making it the 89th country to receive funding for a development project from SFD.
The loan will facilitate the establishment of dedicated business incubation centers across three islands to support the development of new business projects. Specifically, these will accommodate 50 small businesses on Nassau Island, 25 small businesses on Exuma Island, and 25 small businesses on Grand Bahama Island.
The centers being built will include onsite experiential tours, offsite excursions, retailers, and local food and beverage outlets, thereby nurturing entrepreneurship and stimulating economic growth in the Bahamas and wider region. The project is poised to enhance the tourism sector in the Bahamas, create direct and indirect job opportunities, and contribute towards realizing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and SDG 9, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.
On this occasion, Hon. Isacc Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation, said: “This agreement marks a significant step in our nation’s journey towards sustainable growth, with the support of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development. The upcoming business incubation centers will act as catalysts for our aspiring entrepreneurs and help to accelerate job creation and enhance our tourism sector. This partnership reflects a shared vision of prosperity and development.”
On his part, H.E Sultan Al-Marshad, Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Fund for Development, said: “SFD is committed to promoting sustainable socio-economic development in developing nations and Small Island Developing States, while supporting the journey to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This project promises to nurture entrepreneurship in the Bahamas and stimulate economic growth through the provision of new business and job opportunities in the tourism sector. The agreement further solidifies our commitment to achieving a shared, prosperous, and sustainable future for developing countries worldwide.”
This agreement marks a significant milestone, underscoring SFD’s commitment to supporting sustainable development in the Bahamas. It also represents a significant expansion of SFD’s work in the Caribbean region, and reaffirms the importance of international cooperation and solidarity to achieve the SDGs and foster economic and social growth, particularly, in SIDs.