Above: Nassau, Bahamas (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Bahamas will be receiving a pair of loans totaling $24 million from the Inter-American Development bank.
The funding will include a $16.5 million credit to support international trade, while a second, $7.5 million loan will target poverty reduction.
“Although the Bahamas is a vibrant economy, the country is somewhat isolated from international trade circles,” said Mario Umaña, the team leader of the foreign trade support project. “As a result of the changes and technical support to be implemented under the programme, the Bahamas will have modern and agile customs operations, and the country will be in a better position to join the World Trade Organization.”
The international trade credit will focus on improving the ability of customs to collect revenue, through a series of modernization measures.
The poverty funding will be highlighted by the consolidation of existing programmes into a Conditional Cash Transfer programme, which will focus on encouraging educational achievement and healthier lifestyles, including obesity control initiatives.
“Better education outcomes will be one of the main goals of the programme,” said Luis Tejerina, the poverty reduction project’s team leader.
According to the IDB, one out of every four children in grade 10 is obese in the Bahamas, a problem that increases with age.
Two out of every three Bahamians between the ages of 21 and 60 years of age are now overweight or obese, the IDB said.
Both loans will be for a 25-year term.