Barbados is poised to receive a substantial boost in funding from one of its primary development partners for various private sector-led projects spanning multiple sectors. Officials from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group revealed this during an interview with Barbados TODAY on Tuesday.
Following a productive meeting with government and private sector representatives on Monday, James Scriven, CEO of IDB Invest, the private sector division of the IDB Group, expressed the organization’s interest in increasing its investments in Barbados. Scriven stated, “We are currently under-invested in Barbados,” emphasizing the IDB Group’s commitment to expanding its funding for projects not only in Bridgetown but also throughout the entire region.
Scriven further explained that the IDB Group aims to invest between $100 million and $150 million annually in the Barbadian economy, with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of its citizens. These investments will be focused on several specific areas, including infrastructure development, renewable energy, manufacturing, tourism-related projects, digitization, agriculture, the blue economy, and climate change mitigation.
Additionally, IDB Invest is eager to collaborate with financial institutions to provide financing support. While discussions with private sector entities in the region are ongoing and at various stages, Scriven refrained from singling out specific projects at this time. However, he noted that funding for various projects in Barbados could potentially reach around $350 million in the short term, a substantial increase from the current portfolio of approximately $100 million.
Part of the funding is expected to be allocated to projects related to the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), specifically in the form of a revolving loan to enable Barbadians to acquire water tanks for enhanced drought preparedness. Scriven mentioned that discussions with the Barbados Water Authority were underway to explore ways in which the IDB Group could support their ambitious expansion plans.
These developments follow Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s recent announcement that her administration had approached IDB Invest for financial assistance concerning water storage tanks. Furthermore, Barbados is already benefiting from $90 million in funding from IDB Invest for modernization projects at the Bridgetown Port. The lending institution also plans to provide funding for a collaborative initiative between Barbados Port Inc and the private sector, focusing on bulk storage and handling facilities at the Bridgetown Port.
Viviana Alva Hart, Country Representative for the IDB Group, highlighted that the multilateral investment institution, through its IDB Lab, is actively working with entrepreneurs in Barbados and the wider region to promote innovation and scale up businesses.