PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The World Bank has officially opened its Sint Maarten Country Office, reinforcing the bank’s commitment to the people of the country in its role to support the implementation of the Sint Maarten Reconstruction, Recovery, and Resilience Trust Fund.
This country office is the bank’s 144th worldwide, the 21st office in the Latin America and Caribbean Region, and fourth overall in the Caribbean. It is unique in that this will be the first non-member county office in the Caribbean, underscoring the importance of the bank’s work in Sint Maarten, bringing its global expertise, capacity-building support, and collaboration closer to partners and the community. In October 2022, the World Bank became the first international organization to sign a host country agreement with Sint Maarten.
“Since establishing the Trust Fund in April 2018, the World Bank has played an important role in helping Sint Maarten’s response and resilience to natural disasters. Establishing an office on-site will allow the World Bank to readily respond to the country’s needs,” said Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Country Director for Caribbean Countries.
Program Manager, Toyin Jagha, heads the new office and, with her team, will focus on strengthening critical relationships with stakeholders and partners, including the government of Sint Maarten, Trust Fund beneficiaries, and the wider Sint Maarten community.
“The bank is proud to be here, on the ground, supporting Sint Maarten to build back better. This is a special moment for us, and as the project evolves, we hope to collaborate with our local partners, sharing our experience and knowledge to strengthen Sint Maarten’s capacity for long-term sustainability,” said Jagha.
As the world is undergoing a transition to more green and climate-friendly technologies, through the Trust Fund and with the World Bank’s guidance on international best practice. Sint Maarten has a unique opportunity to be pioneers in sustainable development. Projects like waste and wastewater management, climate resilient construction and green technologies can create new possibilities in low carbon and green innovations and give Sint Maarten that competitive edge as it evolves its tourism product for long-term economic viability.
Fostering a community and the human capital that can weather future storms is at the heart of the effort. Through projects that allow for economic inclusion and financial stability, the Bank helps bolster the economy. Projects that focus on the civil society ensure that vulnerable groups are not excluded. The bank’s role in Sint Maarten is to build the country’s capacity to make sure the people are equipped with the knowledge and the skills to build their own future.
“This is a significant milestone for the island and a testament to our commitment to sustainable development, economic growth and fostering global partnerships. The presence of the World Bank in Sint Maarten demonstrates the international recognition of our potential and the importance of our role in the global community. This development reinforces our position as reputable and reliable partner in pursuing our shared goals of poverty eradication, inclusive growth and environmental stability,” said Sint Maarten prime minister Silveria Jacobs.
“Having the World Bank’s office in Sint Maarten brings numerous benefits to our nation. It will provide us with access to global technical expertise, financial resources and knowledge-sharing platforms. This partnership will enable us to implement innovative and effective strategies to address the socio-economic challenges we face, particularly in the aftermath of recent hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Trust Fund’s total allocation is $519 million over ten years. Already, the current portfolio, comprising ten ongoing projects, is valued at around $430.5 million, with three new projects valued at $38 million and $7 million additional financing anticipated to come on stream over the next year.
The Sint Maarten Trust Fund is funded by the government of the Netherlands.
“I want to wish the World Bank team all the best in their new office and I thank them for their continuing work on the reconstruction. Every time I visit St Maarten, I see progress. A lot of work is still ahead of us, but with all parties gathered here, and with the opening of this office, I believe we can really make a difference for the people of St Maarten,” said Dutch state secretary for the ministry of the interior and kingdom relations and minister for digitalisation, Alexandra van Huffelen.
The Trust Fund is scheduled to close on December 31, 2028.