US$80M loan approved

THE Board of Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$80m policy-based loan (PBL) for the Barbados Sustainable Development Policy Programme. Policy-based loans provide countries with flexible, liquid funding based on evidence that the country has met certain policy reform targets.

While many PBLs are normally tied to fiscal or major sector reforms, this is the first loan ever granted by the Bank for a country’s commitments to climate action, responsible land use and other sustainable development practices. The Roofs to Reefs Programme, an integrated public sector and private investment programme for the resilient development of Barbados, forms the basis of the loan’s policy actions, with reforms across sectors like town planning, environment, energy, water and the blue economy.

Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, thanked both Government and IDB colleagues, and highlighted the importance of the sustainability programme for Barbados and Barbadians.

“This policy-based loan has been extended to the Government of Barbados for keeping its promises to implement policies that balance the management of natural resources on the one hand, and growth and the delivery of basic services on the other. The policies included, for example, promote the delivery of regular access to water and improve solid waste management to limit the dependence on landfills.”

Minister Caddle emphasised that the loan is coming at the right time.

“The US$80m loan further builds our war chest of foreign exchange reserves against COVID-19, as we turn our response first to safeguarding lives and then to addressing economic impact. As a result of this long-term, low interest loan, gross reserves will rise to over $1.7bn, the highest level of foreign exchange reserves held at the Central Bank ever in Barbados’ history, but we continue to build our reserves to match the scale of the global challenges we face.”

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