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CDB $11.1M to help Belize’s poor

SANTIBelize’s poor people stand to benefit from some 22 projects to be funded with Bz$11.1 million from Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Bz$1.7 in matching funding from the government of the Belize.

The Social Investment Fund (SIF) will implement the Bze$12.8 million project.

CDB’s Mrs Darran Newman Belgrave,  portfolio manager of the Social Sector Division, headed the CDB delegation which joined Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon. Santiago Castillo in officially launching the fund’s seventh cycle (BNTF7) in Belize at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Thursday, April 11.

The latest Bze$11.1 million grant represents a 75 percent increase in  CDB funding over  what Belize  received  from the BNTF’s sixth cycle.

It means more money to fund more projects, with the poorest areas receiving the most attention!

BNTF7 will focus on  three key areas: education/ human resource development, water and sanitation, and access/drainage.

Castillo noted that the launch “illustrates the strong, warm and friendly ties between Belize and the Caribbean Development Bank.

“Economics has made us partners but our fight against poverty has made us inseparable allies. Belize, therefore, is extremely grateful to the CDB for being with us in good and in bad times, but in particular for providing the necessary funding for programs that address the needs of the poor .

Castillo added, “Belizeans will see a greater flurry of activity in the coming months as these  relate to the implementation of projects aimed at reducing poverty in Belize.”

SIF is already implementing 110 new small-scale community projects in Belize, financed through a BZD $30.0 million SIF II loan from the CDB, which the government formally launched in February 4, 2011.

The launch kicked off a two-day workshop to bring project participants up to speed on CDB’s procurement policy and implementation procedures.

Participants included SIF’s staff, the Board of Directors and representatives from a wide range of community-based, governmental, non-governmental and private organizations.

The workshop covered topics such as governance and institutional arrangements and development, environment management and climate change adaptation, project implementation/human resources, financing plan and administrative and financial management, poverty reduction plan, community participation and empowerment, procurement, communications, social marketing, quality assurance, standards and reporting.

The BNTF is a regional grant program which aims at reducing  poverty by providing infrastructure and services to improve poor people’s quality of life. Since it began 33 years ago, the program has disbursed more than  US$189 million throughout the region.

Belize is one of 10 countries which currently benefits from the Fund, which has contributed strongly to Belize’s national development by providing social infrastructure such as resource centres, schools, health clinics, access to water, sanitation, drainage and roads.

Traditionally, 60 percent of the BNTF projects investment in Belize have been in the areas of education and water supply projects.

Under BNTF5, 101 projects, worth BZD $17.1 million, were completed by the time it concluded in 2012.

Another 22 projects worth BZD$7.3 million should be completed by year’s end under the BNTF6 program.

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