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The IDB’s Country Strategy with the Government of The Bahamas

by Michael Nelson, Natalie Bethel, Astrid Wynter and Cherran O’Brien

Is national income per capita a comprehensive reflection of the development status of a country? What if it is an archipelagic nation lying in the middle of the hurricane belt with a small population, high geographic and economic concentration of production, high reliance on one market for export earnings, high energy costs, falling public revenues, and rising figures in public debt, crime, and unemployment?

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Photo by Natalie Bethel. Pictured: Astrid Wynter, Michael Halkitis, M.P., Minister of State for Finance, Carina Cockburn, Operations Advisor, CCB, John Rolle, Financial Secretary, Ministry of Finance at the Country Strategy Consultation with Government of The Bahamas.

According to IDB Bahamas team, the above-mentioned challenges are those that the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is currently facing; and which the IDB will support the Government of the Bahamas (GoBH) to address over the new Country Strategy period 2013-2017.

After the national elections in 2012, the new GoBH requested a new Country Strategy with The Bahamas to realign the role of the Bank as a development partner in the country.  The new Country Strategy 2013-2017, approved by the IDB Board of Executive Directors on November 27, 2013, will support transformative initiatives of GoBH to ensure macroeconomic sustainability; ensure social stability and employment; and increase resilience to the negative impacts of climate change.

As a result, the Bank support will focus on the following priority areas: (1) Public Finances and Management; (2) Citizen Security and Justice; (3) Energy; (4) Private Sector Development; and (5) Coastal Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation.  The CS priority areas were selected in consultation with the GoBH and based on extensive analytical work carried out by the Bank, IDB comparative advantages including specialized expertise in the selected areas, and the potential transformative impact on the country.

Non-sovereign guaranteed (NSG) lending efforts will be closely aligned to the development and diversification of the private sector; direct financing in alternative energy and energy efficiency; as well as other sectors where IDB participation provides financial and non-financial additionality.

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