BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 21, 2020– An emergency loan for seven Caribbean countries has been approved by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) this week, the bank said in a press release on Monday, May 18.
The purpose of the loan package, which totals almost US $67 million, is to finance the COVID-19 response.
Countries that will benefit from the loan are Antigua and Barbuda, which will receive US$13 million; Belize, which will receive US$15 million; Dominica (US$2.5 million); Grenada (US $5.9 million); Saint Lucia( US$10.8 million); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (US$11.3 million); and Surinam (US$8.2 million).
The bank’s press release explained that the loan is to keep critical government services in operation and to help with the economic decline caused by COVID-19 and to minimize social hardship, said the CDB president, Dr. W. Warren Smith.
The loans are to assist these governments with vital liquidity and to allow these counties to promptly meet their urgent financial needs, noted the CDB.
“Caribbean countries are especially vulnerable to the outbreak due to their heavy dependence on tourism for income”, said the bank’s press release.
According to the CDB, many of these countries will fall into recession this year and their real gross domestic product will decline.
Belize’s gross domestic product is projected to decline by 5.4 percent.
Since the pandemic smashed Belize’s tourism-based economy, this is the first assistance the country has received from an international financial institution.