The Board of Governors of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) began a two-day meeting here on Wednesday amidst suggestions that new technologies could assist in stepping up the pace of implementation of the region's reform agenda.
'I admit that the way forward will not be without its challenges and setbacks. However, opportunities abound,' CDB President Dr. William Warren Smith told the 49th Annual meeting of the Board of Governors. He said that the borrowing member countries (BMCs) were sitting 'on the cusp of a metamorphosis that encompasses digital transformation, unleashing the power of the private sector, including medium and small medium enterprises (MSME) and among other things, democratising education',
But he said that with the assistance and support of the region's premier financial institution 'working alongside our development partners, this could well be our 'moonshot moment'.
'As we, in the Caribbean, look to the future and the realisation of these bold aspirations, the road march winning words of the indomitable Trinidadian, Calypso Rose, 'Gimme More Tempo!' can serve as our call to action. We can leapfrog to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, once we find the right melody, work in harmony and pick up the tempo'.
Smith told the meeting that the bank is determined to play a bigger role in unleashing the potential of MSMEs in the region.
'CDB's approach to galvanising new financing for MSMEs will be centred around the creation of a pool of funds which is off CDB's OCR balance sheet. These funds will be used to provide loans, equity, and technical assistance to MSMEs. Furthermore, partial credit guarantees will be made available to incentivise financial institutions to lend to these small enterprises. '
The CDB president Said that the intention is to develop an appropriate ecosystem within which small businesses can truly flourish.
'Part of that ecosystem must be junior stock exchanges on which these small businesses can list. They will then have access to equity capital which will enable them to grow and morph into larger businesses. Jamaica's experience proves that generous tax holidays can be a powerful stimulus for galvanising small businesses to list,' he said, as he recommended the model to the region of the region.
He said one of the exciting opportunities for the BMCs to leapfrog to the 2030 Agenda is to harness the power of digital technologies that are now part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
'There is increasing evidence of BMC governments and public sector agencies capitalising on information and...