BRIDGETOWN: Ten Caribbean countries are being given access to US$51.4 million in aid to fund their attempts to reduce poverty at home.
The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved the seventh phase of the Bank’s Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Program and has approved a contribution of US$46 million, while governments of the participating countries will provide counterpart funding of US$5.74 million, bringing the total funds available through BNTF 7 to US$51.74 million.
Participating BNTF countries are Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
The overall outcome of BNTF 7 is expected to be improved access to quality education, water and sanitation, transportation services and human resource development services in low-income, vulnerable communities.
Since its inception approximately 33 years ago, BNTF has played a vital role in assisting participating governments in their poverty-reduction efforts.
BNTF contributes to the reduction of poverty in targeted communities by providing infrastructure and livelihood enhancement services.
The program also supports a socially inclusive development process, including empowerment of the poor and vulnerable, as well as institutional development support.
BNTF has undergone six replenishments, a number of design modifications and increasing resource contributions.
A recent evaluation of BNTF 5 and the mid-term evaluation of BNTF 6, which is still under execution, highlighted the relevance of the program and its achievements.
Social infrastructure such as resource centres and educational, health, day care and other facilities which were previously unavailable or inaccessible, have been provided for vulnerable communities. In addition, upgraded water, sanitation and drainage systems were upgraded, and roads, bridges and footpaths were constructed.