The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) was established by the Agreement signed on October 18, 1969, at Kingston, Jamaica and that entered into force on January 26, 1970, for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of the member countries in the Caribbean and promoting economic cooperation and integration among them, having special and urgent regard to the needs of the less developed members of the region (Article 1 of the Agreement establishing CDB).
The Bank recently adopted the following mission statement: “CDB intends to be the leading catalyst for development resources into the Region, working in an efficient, responsive and collaborative manner with our Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) and other development partners, towards the systematic reduction of poverty in their countries through social and economic development.”
The Bank’s Strategic Plan details the strategic focus of its interventions in the BMCs, in light of the critical challenges facing the Region, such as trade liberalization; globalization; lack of competitiveness in major export sectors; poverty and indigence; fiscal and debt unsustainability; the increasing frequency and intensity of natural hazards; and environmental degradation. Based on the foregoing, and cognisant of its own areas of comparative advantage, the Bank has focused its attention on four critical areas: (i) promotion of broad-based economic growth, including in part through the strengthening of export sector development (tourism, export manufacture, agriculture, export services etc.); (ii) fostering of inclusive social development through social sector enhancements (education, housing, health, social protection, etc.), thereby improving the productivity of the regional labour force and regional capacity to engage more competitively in the world economy; (iii) promotion of good governance, including the development of appropriate trading policies through policy dialogue and institutional enhancements (Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery); and (iv) regional cooperation and integration, an important strategic regional response to the challenges of trade liberalization and globalization. To this end, the Bank has supported the strengthening and establishment of institutions critical to the integration process, such as, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), and has provided substantial resources for the provision of regional public goods. In fact, the support to regional integration is an important element of the Bank’s charter.
The Bank’s Trade Capacity Building (TCB)-related programme is multifaceted, encompassing various initiatives to boost trade through the development of physical (roads, airports, ports), economic (telecommunications, electricity) and social infrastructure (education). In the attempt to foster intraregional trade, the Bank has also been very involved in the establishment of key regional transportation projects, namely the establishment and continued viability of LIAT, a sub-regional airline, and in enhancing regional maritime transport capability through the funding of a regional carrier – WISCO. Furthermore, in the past the Bank has attempted to foster the exploitation of regional production complementarities through the establishment of regional industrial and agricultural projects. More recently, it has been supporting the regional integration process through the development of technical assistance in the analysis of key issues fundamental to moving the integration process forward.
CDB cooperates with a number of development partners (United Nations agencies; bilateral partners [Canadian Investment Development Agency, UK Department for International Development, USAID, European Union], and international financial institutions (IFIs) [World Bank, IDB, IMF] in the development of trade capacity in the region. This is done mainly by channelling investment resources through the Bank for expansion of the various types of infrastructure and other projects mentioned above. More directly, CDB and the development partners facilitate export capacity expansion through the encouragement, facilitation and funding of investments (tourism, manufacturing, etc.) in various sectors geared towards external markets.
TCB activities described in this guide
- Loans and Grants
- Equity Operations
- Project Financing
- Restoration of physical infrastructure