New Banks Open In the Caribbean, Strengthening Regional Ties

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Aug. 14, 2023: In a significant development for the Caribbean region, two new banks have recently expanded their operations, marking a stride towards enhancing economic ties and fostering growth opportunities. The Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have unveiled their plans to strengthen their presence in the Caribbean, emphasizing their commitment to the region’s economic development.

CAF’s Expansion and Commitment

The Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) has announced its intentions to broaden its operations in the Caribbean, reflecting its commitment to the region’s progress. Sergio Díaz-Granados, the executive president of CAF, expressed this commitment during the launch of the Report on Economics and Development. He stated that the bank’s relationship with the Caribbean extends beyond its current shareholder countries, including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica.

Díaz-Granados revealed that CAF’s regional office for the Caribbean was launched in Port of Spain last November, with plans underway to establish an additional office in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean islands. The bank aims to collaborate with the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), and other partner institutions to address the financial needs of stakeholders and improve the quality of life for Caribbean citizens.

Highlighting the importance of sustainability, Díaz-Granados announced CAF’s participation as a financier, investing up to US$50 million to support the Barbados-led Blue Green Bank initiative, which focuses on the blue economy.

CAF’s commitment also extends to addressing inequality in the region. The bank’s annual Report on Economic Development (RED) underlines the persistence of inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean. CAF aims to leverage its influence to promote sustainable development and inclusive growth in the region.

Afreximbank’s Caribbean Office and Trade Enhancements

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has taken a significant step towards bolstering ties between Africa and the Caribbean by opening its Caribbean office. This move aligns with the bank’s strategy to enhance trade between the two regions and strengthens its Partnership Agreement with CARICOM states.

The Caribbean office of Afreximbank aims to facilitate greater trade and investment affiliations between Africa and the Caribbean. During the launch event, Afreximbank President Prof. Benedict Oramah confirmed the provision of a $1.5 billion credit limit to support qualifying CARICOM nations. This funding is intended to stimulate economic sectors, enhance trade infrastructure, and empower small to medium enterprises across the Caribbean.

The office’s establishment is set to expedite Afreximbank’s activities within CARICOM, fostering stronger collaborations with regional governments and the business sector. Prof. Oramah envisions seamless trade implementations and the integration of financial systems between CARICOM and Africa for mutual benefit.

Strengthening Regional Partnerships

Both CAF and Afreximbank’s expansions in the Caribbean underscore the importance of regional partnerships in driving economic growth and development. As these banks work together with existing financial institutions and governments in the Caribbean, they are poised to contribute significantly to addressing economic disparities, promoting sustainable practices, and creating new avenues for trade and investment.

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