Business / General / Weekend News

IDB meets with media over coffee and projects

By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) shared breakfast with representatives of the media on Wednesday to shed light on its work and the projects it funds.

IDB’s Country Representative in Belize, Anneke Jessen, said that while the bank provides loans mainly to governments at low interest rates, it also funds projects by civil society organizations because it feels those projects are also important. The Belize Audubon Society’s birding project is one of those initiatives.

Meanwhile, one of the government projects that it has invested in is the Education Quality Improvement (EQIP) program, which focuses on improving the quality of education in Belize by
offer teacher-training using different teaching methods.

Jessen said that the bank will also help the government implement an information system to track how the schools are spending the monies that the government is giving them.

Because the bank operates independently of others, and has an effective oversight system in place, its business with governments is not hinged on IMF or ratings agencies’ ratings/warnings.

Regionally, the IDB has approved a new donation to expand access to education, improve the quality of education and strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Education in Haiti. This is the fourth of five contributions in support of the 2010-2015 Operational Plan, which establishes the educational goals of Haiti.

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti destroyed more than 4,000 schools and threw thousands of students out of the educational system.

Meanwhile, the bank has also approved a US $61.5 million loan for Nicaragua to improve the quality of transportation services and the country’s national and international integration.

The main objectives of that project are to improve road access to the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS) and to reduce travel times and transportation costs of freight and passengers along the Gateada -Naciones Unidas-Bluefields corridor.

Nicaragua has the lowest road density in Central America. The scarcity of roads, in conjunction with the poor condition of existing ones—the majority unpaved—leaves the region relatively isolated from the rest of the country, as well as from Central America and Panama.

Belize joined the IDB in 1993 and got its first loan from the bank in 1997.

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