CDB approves funds for poverty reduction agency in Belize

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec 10, CMC – The Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it will assist Belize in strengthening an institution that is a key partner and important vehicle for providing services to poor and vulnerable communities in that country.

The CDB’s Board of Directors has approved a US$10 million to expand the services of the Belize Social Investment Fund (BSIF) that was established in 1996 for promoting, appraising, financing and supervising the implementation of small and medium-sized sub-projects designed to benefit underserved communities.

“CDB is pleased to support BSIF in scaling up its very important work, which increases access to basic social infrastructure and services to underserved women, men, boys and girls in Belize,” said Daniel Best, Director of Projects at the CDB.

The loan will be used mainly for financing social and economic infrastructure, social services and organizational strengthening sub-projects in poor rural communities. The project is estimated to cost US$12.5 million with the Belize government providing US$2.5 millionin counterpart funding towards the project.

The CDB said the loan aims to support the achievement key outcomes: increased gender-equitable, inclusive access to climate-resilient infrastructure and quality basic social services in poor and vulnerable communities.

It said this will be achieved through investments in education, health, and water and sanitation, social sector and organizational-strengthening subprojects, which include human resource development for enhancing employability.

In March 2002, the Belize government gave BSIF a mandate to manage the country’s Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) Programme, which is the CDB’s flagship poverty reduction initiative with a community-based approach.

“While the institution has grown to become a key facilitator of the Government of Belize’s poverty reduction efforts, it faces a number of challenges, which the loan will help BSIF address as it seeks to remain relevant, efficient and effective in transforming poor communities,” the CDB added.