Above: Caribbean Development Bank President Dr Warren Smith (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The Caribbean region needs some $30 billion USD to modernize its infrastructure over the next decade, according to Caribbean Development Bank President Dr Warren Smith.
The CDB’s top official, who was speaking at the recent UK-Caribbean Business Conference in London, said the money would be needed to modernize and enhance “the efficiency of the power, transportation, telecommunications and water and wastewater sectors.”
“In the energy sector alone, massive investment will be needed to replace obsolete and inefficient generating plant over the next five years and to transform the electricity infrastructure so that the region’s vast renewable energy potential can be exploited,” Smith said.
The Caribbean Development Bank is “actively promoting” a new green economy paradigm for sustainable growth, he said, nothing that energy efficiency and green energy sources would create “opportunities for the growth of new non-traditional businesses, lower electricity costs and boost foreign exchange reserves by reducing energy imports.”
“Most of our countries are highly dependent on imported fossil fuels for power generation,” he said. “This vulnerability to volatile oil prices has contributed hugely to the competitiveness challenges of Caribbean industries. It has also been a principal cause of unsustainable balances of payments and sovereign indebtedness problems.”
Smith said the CDB had, in recent years, financed photovoltaic systems in remote areas of the CAribbean, among other green projects.