|The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a US$25 million loan to Antigua and Barbuda to counter Covid-19 fallout and support economic recovery. It is also lending US$7.5 million to Anguilla. “The two loans will buttress socially responsible policies, particularly for the benefit of vulnerable people in Anguilla and Antigua and Barbuda, while backing the reform process in both countries to achieve greater resilience,” said CDB President Dr Gene Leon. |
Both countries have been heavily affected by the pandemic. Antigua and Barbuda’s gross domestic product (GDP) is said to have contracted by 16 percent last year, compared with 2019. The pandemic has also caused a recession in Anguilla where GDP contracted by 27.4 percent in 2020.
Real income per capita also dipped by 18.5 percent in Antigua and Barbuda last year. With the bank’s support, the Antigua and Barbuda government has identified essential reforms for stability and sustainability and set up a comprehensive medium-term fiscal strategy to restore debt sustainability and help steer the country towards recovery while keeping the pandemic in check, a CDB release said.
“The loan to Antigua and Barbuda aims to achieve three goals, namely to strengthen health emergency preparedness and response capacities, to bolster social safety nets for vulnerable citizens, and to enhance economic and fiscal frameworks for recovery after the pandemic,” Dr Leon added. CDB was established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the economic growth and development of its 19 borrowing member countries. As of December 31 2020, CDB’s total assets stood at US$3.64 billion.