BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has launched the Saint Lucia segment of its safety nets for vulnerable populations affected by Coronavirus Project, providing a US$5.217million loan to bolster COVID-19 recovery efforts in that country.
The intervention will support the government of Saint Lucia (GOSL) in addressing the multifaceted impacts of the pandemic, which have been particularly severe for CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries and other small developing states. The bank is allocating the financing from the InterAmerican Development Bank’s (IDB) global loan programme for safety nets for vulnerable populations.
An assessment undertaken in 2020 by Saint Lucia’s Central Statistics Office quantified the negative effects of the COVID crisis on the population with 71.2 percent of households reporting reductions in income, and 15 percent having difficulty accessing necessities such as food and medicine.
COVID-19 also placed significant stress on Saint Lucia’s social protection systems which struggled to meet the increased demands as conditions worsened. CDB’s Project will facilitate initiatives which target the welfare and education systems to increase minimum income and employment levels.
Speaking at the launch, held on April 13, 2023, at Bay Gardens Hotel, in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, Dr Martin Baptiste, CDB’s social sector division chief said:
“Given the ongoing challenges which have to be addressed within a context of limited fiscal space and competing development priorities, this intervention will provide resources to support the provision of services to poor and vulnerable cohorts of the population including sub-population groups hardest hit by the crisis.”
“CDB is pleased to partner with the Inter-American Development Bank and the government of Saint Lucia in designing and implementing this project which is intended to contribute to ensuring minimum levels of quality of life for vulnerable persons affected by the crisis caused by COVID-19 as well as preserving Saint Lucia’s human capital in an inclusive, equitable and gender-responsive manner.”
CBD is providing similar loans to bolster shock-responsive social protection in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The intervention in Saint Lucia continues CDB’s longstanding engagement with the Eastern Caribbean nation. The bank has approved other lending facilities in recent years to assist the GOSL with meeting its social and economic imperatives including a US$10.7 million emergency response support loan, and an exogenous shock response policy˗based loan of US$30.0 million to underpin response and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, both in 2020.