First-Time Financing by World Bank for Digital Economy in the Eastern Caribbean Approved for US$94 Million
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today the regional Caribbean Digital Transformation Project for a total of US$94 million for four Eastern Caribbean countries: Dominica (US$28 million), Grenada (US$8 million), Saint Lucia (US$20 million), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (US$30 million), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission (US$8 million) to build an inclusive digital economy. 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.
“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,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “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 harmonization 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 modernization 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.
World Bank Group COVID-19 Response
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms.