BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 4, 2023 (SKNIS) – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew moved the second reading of the Caribbean Community and Africa Export-Import Bank (Agreement for the Establishment of a Partnership) Bill, 2023 in the National Assembly on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.
The Bill seeks to give full effect to the agreement for the establishment of a partnership between CARICOM Member States and Afreximbank. The Afreximbank Partnership Agreement was first introduced in September of 2022 during the inaugural Africa-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) held in Bridgetown, Barbados.
In December 2022, the Board of Directors of Afreximbank approved US$1.5 billion in funding to enable CARICOM Member States that have ratified the Partnership Agreement to tap into the Bank’s various financial opportunities.
“The US$1.5 billion financing approved by the Board of Directors of the Afreximbank enables CARICOM countries to access the bank’s financing instruments, through financing facilities, that support various identified economic sectors including tourism, healthcare, renewable energy, shipping, mining, agriculture, agri-business, air links and aquaculture. The Afreximbank will also work to support local financial institutions to source finances for SMEs [small and medium enterprises],” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew.
The Honourable Prime Minister revealed that discussions were already had and are at advanced stages with officials from Afreximbank regarding several projects for St. Kitts and Nevis. On February 17, Prime Minister Drew signed a memorandum of understanding with Afreximbank.
“There’s no CARICOM Member State more advanced in negotiations for tapping into the US$1.5 billion funding than St. Kitts and Nevis. Talks are advanced Madame Speaker; MOUs are signed; the technical teams are discussing, the President visited; a technical team will visit in short order, particularly to look at solar energy and the Blue Economy development, and so we are moving steadily along Madame Speaker,” the Prime Minister added.
Barbados and Saint Lucia have already passed similar legislation to ratify the Afreximbank Partnership Agreement in their respective territories.