The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is implementing several measures to help the governments of Guyana, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and many other countries in their efforts to fight the novel coronavirus. This was recently disclosed by Therese Turner-Jones, the IDB’s country representative for Jamaica since 2013.

The IDB official said that the bank is increasing the availability of funds, adjusting lending instruments, re-channeling technical assistance grants, and establishing exchange and learning platforms, to provide immediate responses to the countries’ specific demands. Turner-Jones also said that the bank is devoting its entire network of collaboration, knowledge, and dialogue to serve the regional effort combating the pandemic.

For the financial institution’s 26-member countries, Turner-Jones said the IDB has added US$3.3 billion in additional funds to its 2020 lending programme. She said that these resources, together with the available programmed resources, total US$12 billion which will be available to the countries to address the health crisis and the economic impacts stemming from the pandemic.

The IDB official said, “We have immediately offered countries the ability to reallocate resources from the health portfolio and will consider reformulating the entire loan portfolio to redirect available resources for an amount equivalent to 10% of the undisbursed loan balances in the investment portfolio or up to $50 million, whichever occurs first.”

The Guyana Standard understands that the IDB is also making US$50 million of its own resources available to Latin America and the Caribbean for national and regional grant assistance, as well as technical cooperation funds from non-regional partners under the IDB’s administration.

IDB Invest will also join this effort with US$5billion in 2020 for Latin America and the Caribbean. Of this amount, Turner-Jones revealed that US$4.5 billion from its investment programme will be devoted to enabling lines to support the financing of the entire trade and supply chain and finance companies in critical sectors impacted by the crisis. In addition, IDB Invest will create a new Crisis Mitigation Facility with US$500 million to finance the delivery of services and inputs for the health sector and provide access to short-term financing for small and medium-sized enterprises. These financial efforts are being supplemented by the streamlining of our fiduciary processes and approval times so we can provide the firm and timely support demanded by the situation.

The IDB official said that the institution will also be coordinating closely with other multilateral financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. “This is an all-hands-on-deck moment…” she concluded.


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