The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says that Caribbean finance ministers have expressed concern about the high energy costs in the Caribbean that “constrain living standards and growth.”
The region’s finance and planning ministers voiced their concern in Port-of-Spain, the Trinidad and Tobago capital, at the just-concluded Third Annual Meeting of the IDB’s Caribbean Governors.
The IDB said it recently launched the Caribbean Energy Initiative, “which seeks to create a regional energy market that creates sufficient critical mass to enable countries to take advantage of the reduction in the cost of natural gas and its increased supply.”
The Caribbean Energy Initiative will be complemented by the IDB’s ongoing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, “which have proved to offer significant fiscal and foreign exchange benefits,” the IDB said.
“The region is looking for a new paradigm,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “Both the larger, resource-based economies and the smaller, service-based economies face the same challenge.
“New products and new trading partners will have to be cultivated,” he urged. “This calls for a willingness to embrace change.”
Moreno said the IDB is “committed to support that process.”
During the conference, the IDB said Caribbean Governors were also briefed on the progress of the proposed restructuring of the IDB’s private sector window, “which could increase development impact and mobilize additional resources from an expanded range of financial actors.
“In this process, the particular challenges associated with achieving a transformational impact in the Caribbean are a priority,” the IDB said.
It said the conference prepared the Caribbean Governors and bank management for the “substantive deliberations” on the future direction of the bank that are anticipated at the institution’s annual general meeting to be held in Bahia, Brazil at the end of March.