BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will assist the government of Belize in strengthening an institution that is a key partner and important vehicle for providing services to poor and vulnerable communities in that country.
CDB’s board of directors last Thursday approved a loan of US$10 million to Belize. It will be used to expand the services of the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF). BSIF, which was established in 1996, is responsible for promoting, appraising, financing and supervising the implementation of small and medium-sized sub-projects designed to benefit underserved communities.
“CDB is pleased to support BSIF in scaling up its very important work, which increases access to basic social infrastructure and services to underserved women, men, boys and girls in Belize,” said Daniel Best, director, projects, CDB.
The loan from CDB will be used mainly for financing social and economic infrastructure, social services and organizational strengthening sub-projects in poor rural communities. The project is estimated to cost US$12.518 million. The government of Belize will provide US$2.518 million in counterpart funding towards the project.
The loan aims to support the achievement key outcomes: increased gender-equitable, inclusive access to climate-resilient infrastructure and quality basic social services in poor and vulnerable communities. This will be achieved through investments in education, health, and water and sanitation, social sector and organizational-strengthening subprojects, which include human resource development for enhancing employability.
In March 2002, the government of Belize gave BSIF a mandate to manage the country’s Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) programme. BNTF is CDB’s flagship poverty reduction initiative with a community-based approach.
While the institution has grown to become a key facilitator of the government of Belize’s poverty reduction efforts, it faces a number of challenges, which the loan will help BSIF address as it seeks to remain relevant, efficient and effective in transforming poor communities.
The project aligns to CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development. It also complements the Bank’s Climate Resilience Strategy 2012-2017 and Gender Equality Policy and Operational Strategy.