WASHINGTON, March 14, 2014 – More than 80,000 Jamaican citizens will benefit from improved services, basic infrastructure and targeted crime and violence interventions in 18 vulnerable inner-city communities as a result of US$42 million project for integrated community development approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors today.
“As we strive to advance the targets of the Vision 2030; where access to reliable services and adequate infrastructure is the norm; enhancing community safety and security is a priority and these communities are places of choice to live, work, raise families and do business,” says Scarlette Gillings, Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.
In the Kingston Metropolitan Area poverty has doubled in two years from seven percent in 2008 to more than 14 percent in 2010. Youth unemployment is on the rise, with more than 50 percent of young people unemployed. Homicides and other violent crimes rates is one of the highest in the Latin America and Caribbean region. In response, the Government of Jamaica developed a national crime prevention and community safety strategy and launched a community renewal program in the five most affected parishes.
This new project is a continuation of the partnership between the Government of Jamaica and the World Bank on upgrading some of the country’s most vulnerable and volatile communities. It builds on the success of the Inner City Basic Services for the Poor Project to address accelerating urban decay and declining citizen security.
“The project aims to foster a more inclusive society in Jamaica by improving the quality of life of marginalized city dwellers. It also aims to prevent crime and violence by engaging youth in public safety initiatives and providing them with job skills training” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank country director for the Caribbean.
Among concrete results to be achieved by the funding are:
- More than 50,000 people will benefit from improved solid waste management services, street lighting, paved roads and drainage.
- Residents in the 18 communities will feel safer.
- More than 10,000 people will be connected to the grid and 1200 families will have their piped water connection repaired.
- 4,500 residents will receive educational and skills training.
The loan financing this project from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to the Government of Jamaica has a final maturity of 29 years, with a five year grace period.