World Bank Finances Digital Economy In Eastern Caribbean

(LOOP NEWS CARIBBEAN) – The World Bank Board has approved a regional Caribbean Digital Transformation Project at a total of US$94 million for four Eastern Caribbean countries.

The money will be used to build an inclusive digital economy. Here is a breakdown of how the funds will be distributed:

  • Dominica -US$28 million

  • Grenada US$8 million

  • St Lucia US$20 million

  • St Vincent and the Grenadines US$30 million

  • Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission US$8 million

This is the first World Bank-financed project to support the development of digital economy in the Caribbean.

It aims to increase access to digital services, technologies, and skills by governments, businesses, and individuals.

Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean said: “The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the essential role of digital technology in keeping people, businesses, governments, and countries connected.

It enabled virtual continuity of services and facilitated contactless transactions.”

She added: “The digital economy offers a unique opportunity for the Eastern Caribbean countries to become digital leaders. Wider and more rapid adoption of digital technologies can support countries during the COVID-19 recovery phase and help build resilience, create jobs and boost future growth.”

The project aims to increase internet penetration and access to digital financial services and public services.

It will support reforms and regional harmonisation of the legal and regulatory environment to promote investment in digital infrastructure.

It will support activities to make telecommunications and financial services more affordable, while addressing risks related to cybersecurity and data protection.

The project will also support public sector modernisation and delivery of citizen-centric, digital public services.

Support will be provided to individuals and businesses for skills and entrepreneurship development.

Financing for the project comes from the International Development Association (IDA).

The OECS Commission will receive a grant, and the four Eastern Caribbean islands will receive interest-free financing with a maturity of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years.