Following the recently concluded 30th Intersessional Meeting of Heads of Government of CARICOM hosted by St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Rodinald Soomer, CEO of the CARICOM Development Fund, signed a loan agreement with Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, to provide US$3 Million in concessional resources to the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) for onlending to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
The broad purpose of the concessional loan is to provide business support to SMEs, in the form of improved access to direct financial and technical assistance, promotion of innovation, improvement of efficiency, productive capacity and competitiveness, and ultimately to facilitate growth and job creation opportunities in St. Kitts and Nevis.
The DBSKN proposes to extend credit to SMEs in the following ‘impact’ areas:
- Light Manufacturing
- Agriculture and Agri-business
- ‘Green’ Projects, with a focus on sustainable energy initiatives
- Youth & Women Start-up businesses
L to R: Mr. Lenworth Harris, General Manager, DBSKN; Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, P.M. St. Kitts and Nevis; Mr. Rodinald Soomer, CEO of the CDF; Mr. Warren Thompson, Chairman, DBSKN; and Mr. Andrew Skerritt, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister
The provision of these concessional loan resources is part of the overall Country Assistance Programme (CAP) for St. Kitts and Nevis under the Second Funding Cycle of the CDF, of which the two main components are: 1) This Loan to the Development Bank and (2) A Grant for Further Enhancement of the South Frigate Bay Area (US$1.33M), for which the Grant Agreement was signed on February 12th, 2019.
The Further Enhancement of the infrastructure of the South Frigate Bay Area, known as “De Strip” will:
- provide for physical upgrades to the existing product to make it more appealing and competitive;
- improve guest comfort and the customer and visitor experience; and
- spur further private investment, entrepreneurship and employment creation.
To date, the CDF has made US$8.94 Million in financing available to the Government of St Kitts and Nevis over its first and second funding cycles, starting in May 2012 when the first set of financing agreements were signed.
The emphases of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Second Country Assistance Programme with the CDF are consistent with the Fund’s CARICOM Treaty mandate to provide financial and technical assistance to disadvantaged countries, regions and sectors, to enable Member States to derive optimal benefit from their participation in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The interventions being financed are consistent with the thematic areas approved by Member States for support from the CDF, in particular ‘Facilitation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) development and business competitiveness’ and ‘Addressing structural diversification and infrastructural development needs’.