IDB launches credit facility for Caribbean

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7. CMC – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has launched two new contingent credit facilities for Latin America and the Caribbean to help countries deal beforehand with shocks caused by external financial crises and to help nations cope with the aftermath of natural disasters.

The Washington-based financial institution said a new Development Sustainability Contingent Credit Line (DSL) will make US$6 billion available to the IDB’s 26 borrowing member-countries over the 2012-2014 period, with a maximum of $2 billion per year and with unused resources from one year carrying over to the next one. The new line is designed to help countries protect its poorest citizens from sharp fluctuations in commodity prices, global liquidity crises and other exogenous factors.

It said a separate Contingent Credit Line for Natural Disasters (CCL) will help countries cover urgent financing needs that arise immediately after a natural disaster. The IDB said the overall amount for the CCL is capped at US$2 billion for 2012-2014.

In addition, it said a separate and currently available Contingent Credit Facility for Natural Disasters (CCF) is being expanded.

“Many of the poorest citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean region have seen their lives improve in recent years thanks to better social programs and macroeconomic management,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno.

“Development Banks, such as ours, can help protect these policies and social programs from earthquakes, floods, commodity price fluctuations, external financial crises and other events that are beyond the control of governments,” he added.

The new DSL replaces the previous US$3 billion Emergency Lending facility, the IDB said.

It is designed to specifically protect programs and policies that assist the poor from external financial shocks and is capped at a maximum of US$300 million per country, or 2 percent of a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), whichever is lower. Countries get the contingency line approved before the event takes place, the IDB said.

It said the Contingent Credit Line for Natural Disasters is to provide borrowing member countries with resources to cover urgent financing needs that arise immediately after a natural disaster, until other sources of funding can be accessed.

The IDB said the country limit is US$100 million or 1 percent of GDP, whichever is lower.

It said the new CCL will complement the currently available Contingent Credit Facility for Natural Disasters (CCF), a more restrictive facility created to help countries deal with catastrophic natural disasters.

Unlike the CCL, the CCF has no overall limit, though the limit per country has been set to US$300 million or 2 percent of GDP, whichever is lower.