Sunday, July 21, 2024

IDB discusses important matters at their annual meeting held in Ambergris Caye, Belize

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The Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) member countries from Central America and the Dominican Republic held their 36th annual meeting in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, to discuss priorities for the region’s sustainable development and explore partnerships. The event, held from February 20th through the 21st, was also the ground of discussions for the development agendas of the area and the support of further contributions and strengthening public and private interventions. The meeting also looked at ways to benefit the most vulnerable populations.
The official event was held at the Mahogany Bay Village resort south of San Pedro Town. The meeting, which also supported social development, climate impact, and sustainable growth in Central America and the Dominican Republic, was attended by a delegation led by Prime Minister Honourable Dr. John Briceño. The conversations agreed on working on policies for inequality, gender, poverty and developing more and better infrastructure. Prime Minister Briceño thanked the new IDB President, Ilan Goldfajn, for choosing Ambergris Caye for such an important meeting. Briceño noted that holding the meeting in Belize speaks a lot about the bank’s commitment to countries like the Jewel. “Belize values this opportunity to host this meeting,” said Briceño. “In addition to the important business of the bank, these gatherings provide a platform to strengthen ties as a region.” The prime minister highlighted today’s world’s challenges, from inflation to the high fuel cost but pointed out that National Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the drivers of any economy. He said that legislation is to be discussed by the government and later passed into law to benefit these enterprises.
In his first meeting with the Governors of this region, the new IDB President, Ilan Goldfajn, shared his vision for expanding the bank’s contribution to their countries’ development and heard their perspectives on the priorities that should guide the agenda in upcoming years. IDB experts and guest specialists participated in the meeting’s work sessions to foster dialogue about the current international context and challenges hindering more inclusive and sustainable growth.
The meeting provided some records of the latest IDB activities in the region. A report called ‘Creating Opportunities and Building Resilience: Priorities for Sustainable Recovery’ indicated that the economy of Central America and the Dominican Republic is recovering slightly faster than that of other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the report, this is driven by a rebound in tourism, remittances, and agricultural exports. However, lingering challenges include higher food prices exacerbating food insecurity and imperiling progress toward eliminating poverty.
At the meeting, the new IDB president emphasized that in the context of more frequent and severe crises, Central America and the Dominican Republic should prioritize policies that foster resilience, with people’s welfare as their core focus. “At the IDB Group, we will channel our assistance toward effectively erasing the obstacles to sustainable and inclusive growth,” said President Goldfajn. “We will strive to advance social development, intensifying our efforts to reduce poverty and food insecurity. We will also help countries combat climate change, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and enhance their natural disaster risk management systems.” The president also noted the importance of Partnering with the private sector. He considered such a move a key component of their strategy for mobilizing resources and fostering regional development.
Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals
In 2022, the IDB Group provided $4.166 billion in financing to the countries of Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. These efforts allowed the IDB to continue providing support to the region that has centered on bolstering income for the poorest sectors, closing gaps in the quality and coverage of essential services, boosting the productivity of MSMEs, enhancing the efficiency of the public sector, and mitigating and adapting to climate change. All these actions have moved the region closer to achieving the set Sustainable Development Goals.
Over the last six years of its work with the public sector, the IDB Group has helped improve the quality of healthcare for 24 million people in this region. Additionally, 7.5 million students have benefited from projects in education, 800,000 households now have access to water and sanitation or electricity, and 98,000 MSMEs have received financing.
President Goldfajn also addressed the Governors about the private sector. He underscored his commitment to improving the IDB Group’s value proposition. IDB Invest has worked to strengthen the region’s productive fabric and job markets, particularly for SMEs and their distribution chains that have facilitated foreign trade. Meanwhile, IDB Lab, the bank’s innovation laboratory, focused on financial inclusion for vulnerable groups, digitization at MSMEs, training, and job programs.
The event comes on the road to the IDB and IDB Invest Annual Meeting on March 16–19 in Panama this year.
About the IDB Group
The IDB Group is the leading source of development finance for Latin America and the Caribbean. It helps improve lives by providing financial solutions and development expertise to the public- and private-sector clients. The Group comprises the IDB, which has worked with governments for over 60 years; IDB Invest, which serves the private sector; and IDB Lab, which tests innovative ways to enable more inclusive growth.

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