BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: St. Lucia and Belize will be the first to benefit from the CARICOM Development Fund’s (CDF) Country Assistance Programs (CAPs).
The CDF, which was set up in July 2008 to help disadvantaged countries and sectors compete within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, will provide US$4.7 million for St. Lucia and US$3.37 million for Belize.
Both countries will use the money to assist small and medium sized businesses.
The money for St. Lucia includes a US$3.7 million loan to be administered by the St. Lucia Development Bank for lending to the private sector.
“It is expected that the line of credit will finance, at a minimum, 62 loans to small and medium sized businesses to enable them to initiate, retrain, retool, expand or diversify business operations and to create additional employment,” said a statement from the Barbados-based CDF. The statement also said St. Lucia would also receive a US$1 million grant to finance the establishment of a Trade Export Development Agency.
In addition to getting a US$3 million loan to support small and medium sized enterprises and micro-entrepreneurs, Belize will receive a grant, not exceeding US$200,000 for “green projects”, as well as two additional grants totaling US$175,000 to split between the Belize Trade and Investment Services Corporation (Beltraide) and the Public Sector Investment Program.
The grant to Beltraide will be used to develop a policy on micro, small and medium sized enterprise development, while the Public Sector Investment Program will use its portion to develop and implement a functioning Management Information System.
CDF Chief Executive Officer, Ambassador Lorne McDonnough, said the Fund is also scheduling negotiations for CAPs with Guyana and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).