Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Overview

  • Update on COVID-19:

    The World Bank Group is working closely with partners to respond to the global pandemic in the Caribbean and around the world. For information on coronavirus and the global response, please visit: https://www.worldbank.org/en/who-we-are/news/coronavirus-covid19

    The World Bank stands ready to support our partners in the Caribbean, and will provide updates on actions being taken.

    World Bank Group and The Caribbean

    Aruba

    Bahamas

    Barbados

    Belize

    Cayman Islands (U.K)

    Curacao (Netherlands)

    Dominican Republic

    Guyana

    Haiti

    Jamaica

    OECS

    Antigua and Barbuda

    Dominica

    Grenada

    Saint Kitts and Nevis

    Saint Lucia

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

    Sint Maarten

    Suriname

    Trinidad and Tobago

    Turks and Caicos

    The Caribbean is a diverse region with significant economic potential and growth opportunities. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita varies from around US$800 to over US$30,000 and some countries rely on commodity exports, while others on tourism.

    With its stunning scenery and vibrant cultures, the Caribbean is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Sustainable use of ocean resources, known as the “blue economy,” offers great economic growth potential, as well as further development of the region’s services, logistics, agriculture, creative and digital sectors.

    Many small economics, including the tourism dependent, were maintaining a positive growth rate.  However, COVID19 has impacted FY20 growth.  The Caribbean economy is anticipated to contract by 1.8% in 2020, and by 3.1% excluding Guyana. The subregion will be hurt by falling tourism and remittance inflows due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Caribbean countries are extremely vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. Extreme weather events are common – the region experienced three Category 5 hurricanes between 2017-2019.  When a hurricane strikes, it can wipe out more than the entire annual GDP of a small island and it is often the poorest that suffer the most. Major hurricanes including Irma and Maria in 2017, and Dorian in 2019 were stark reminders.

    Building fiscal and financial resilience and investing in preparedness are critical to reduce the large human and economic costs caused by climate change and natural disasters.

    Last Updated: Jun 08, 2020

  • In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank has worked with Caribbean governments to mobilize rapid financing for health response to the crisis, using a variety of instruments. Moving forward, the next phase of support will be built around social and economic recovery to support countries in mitigating the adverse impacts of this crisis.

    The World Bank Group strategy in the Caribbean focuses on building “360-degree” resilience across four dimensions:

    Fiscal and Financial Resilience

    ·       The World Bank is supporting countries in the Caribbean to strengthen their fiscal frameworks and build buffers to contain the impact of shocks through improved macro-fiscal policies, enhanced debt management and better public financial management (PFM).

    ·       We are supporting Caribbean countries to diversify their economies and strengthen the private sector. The World Bank works with countries to improve the regulatory environment for private sector investments.

    ·       Innovative disaster risk financing mechanisms are supporting greater fiscal resilience for Caribbean economies. The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility is a parametric insurance facility that provides quick, short term liquidity in the event of a disaster. Since its inception, CCRIF has made payouts totaling US$152 million.

    Physical and Infrastructure Resilience

    ·       The World Bank is supporting countries in the region to strengthen their early warning systems to mitigate the impact of disasters through projects to mitigate disaster vulnerability risks.

    ·       We are supporting increased physical resilience through ‘Build Back Better’ principles, which are essential to reduce the economic cost of disasters, and to ensure that key infrastructure and services can withstand the next storm.

    ·       New engagements in the transport and digital development sectors are supporting increased connectivity in the Caribbean. The importance of digital connectivity has been highlighted by the pandemic.

    Human Capital Resilience

    ·       The World Bank is working with countries to strengthen their human capital. This includes advancing regional health preparedness for potential pandemics and working to improve education and learning outcomes.

    ·       We are also supporting stronger social protection systems including improving the coverage and targeting of safety nets, and through adaptive safety nets, ensuring recovery measures reach those who need them most. Training programs, such as a youth employment program in Jamaica, are building job skills.

    Environment and Natural Resource Resilience

    ·       The World Bank is helping countries in the Caribbean to protect marine areas, diversify the blue economy, reduce marine pollution and repopulate coral reefs. We are supporting sustainable agricultural practices to boost incomes for small and medium businesses while decreasing deforestation and forest degradation.

    Last Updated: Jun 08, 2020

  • Resilience to Climate Change and Natural Disasters

    Natural disasters in the Caribbean region have become increasingly intense in the face of climate change. The World Bank engagement in the Caribbean has achieved these results:

    ·       The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan has allowed payouts to several Caribbean countries after Hurricanes Dorian, Irma and Maria. The Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture SusTainability Facility (COAST), is an innovative parametric insurance product developed under CCRIF specifically for fisherfolk in the Caribbean.

    ·       A financial package of more than US$100 million was provided for Dominica, including through the IDA crisis response window after Hurricane Irma in 2017.  In addition, a contingent line of credit prepared for the Dominican Republic was approved in 2017, and then disbursed to support COVID-19 response this year.

    ·       There are projects to support climate resilience and enhance disaster preparedness and emergency response on the islands of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The focus is on making infrastructure more adaptable to extreme weather events and natural disasters and improving government capacity to handle disaster risks.

    The Blue Economy

    Harnessing marine resources while preserving the Caribbean Sea can help countries address key challenges such as high unemployment, low growth, food security, poverty, and resilience to climate change.

    The World Bank report “Toward a Blue Economy: A Promise for Sustainable Growth in the Caribbean” estimates that the Caribbean Sea (including mainland Caribbean coastal countries) generated US$407 billion in 2012.

    Ongoing World Bank support to building environment and natural resource resilience in the Caribbean includes:

    ·       Banning of single-use plastics and/or Styrofoam containers across the OECS;

    ·       creating an insurance mechanism to include the fisheries sector in Grenada and Saint Lucia;

    ·       Building sustainable agriculture practices and competitiveness in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and the OECS;

    ·       Expanding marine protected areas in Belize and strengthening protection and climate resilience of the Belize Barrier Reef;

    Macroeconomic and Fiscal Sustainability

    The World Bank Group is working with Caribbean governments and regional partners to help Caribbean countries better manage public spending and reduce their debts to sustainable levels, while protecting poor and vulnerable populations.

    ·       The World Bank provided Development Policy Financing to Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Dominican Republic to support reforms to improve the investment climate and help create fiscal space. Additional financing for fiscal resilience , with a contingent credit line for disasters, will be approved for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in June 2020.

    ·       World Bank is supporting Jamaica’s ambitious reforms to strengthen fiscal sustainability and inclusion, enhance fiscal and financial resilience against climate and natural disaster risks,

    ·       A contingent credit line, known as a Cat-DDO, was approved in 2017 for the Dominican Republic to be disbursed during a national emergency. These funds were disbursed  in March 2020 to help the country face the COVID-19 pandemic.

    ·       In Grenada, a series of budget support operations helped private investment, improved public resource management and boosted resilience against natural disasters.

    Growth

    The WBG has worked with regional partners to help Caribbean countries facilitate the private sector and trade reforms, while supporting jobs and protecting poor and vulnerable populations.

    ·       The World Bank Group is helping improve Jamaica’s competitiveness by facilitating the growth of new and existing businesses. This includes technical assistance for public-private partnerships, ranging from airports to ports, economic zones, water generation, wastewater and sewage, schools, and renewable energy.

    ·       The World Bank Group is mobilizing private capital for strategic investments and seeking to more fully integrate Jamaica’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into global value chains.

    ·       The World Bank Group is supporting diversification of the region’s power sector by increasing the production of renewables and other clean energy sources. In the Eastern Caribbean, this involves the use of commercial-scale solar photovoltaic systems on rooftops in Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

    ·       The Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), with support from the government of Canada, has provided tailored business development support and training to more than 2,100 entrepreneurs across sectors, including in digital and climate technologies. It has also facilitated more than US$4 million in investments raised by Caribbean entrepreneurs.

    ·       In Jamaica, the Youth Employment in Digital & Animation Industries Project  is building on successful pilots in the Digital Jam and KingstOOn events, with more than 4,000 young Jamaicans engaged in digital enterprises, supporting the growth of the Jamaican animation training and industry..

    Inclusion and opportunities for all

    Quality education, affordable health care, and equitable social safety nets are key ingredients in building inclusive societies. In the Caribbean, several countries have launched innovative efforts to provide the most vulnerable, including children, with the knowledge, skills, and health they need to excel.

    ·       Jamaica’s comprehensive National Strategic Plan for early childhood development is the first of its kind in the region. Jamaica is one of the few countries in the region that guarantees free pre-primary education and has the highest proportion of children enrolled in preschool. The World Bank Group supports the scaling-up of early childhood development services to help improve parenting, care, and school readiness for children from birth to six years of age, and to provide diagnosis and early stimulation for children at risk.

    ·       To help improve student learning in pre-university education, the WBG’s Support to the National Education Pact project in the Dominican Republic has a competitive selection system to raise the academic standards of new teachers and improve the quality of education. The results of diagnostic learning assessments of all third-grade students have been shared with schools and the Ministry of Education to help them improve planning, adjust teacher training, and support decision-making.

    ·       In Guyana, the World Bank has provided long-standing support in the area of education spanning from early childhood to primary and secondary education, all the way to the University of Guyana. Curricula reform and research programs have included significant contributions from the main indigenous groups.

    Last Updated: Jun 08, 2020

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In Depth

Brochure: Inside the Caribbean

Learn about our work in the Caribbean

Towards a Blue Economy

A promise for sustainable growth in the Caribbean

Marine Pollution in the Caribbean: Not a Minute to Waste

Report Calls for Urgent Action to Tackle Marine Pollution, A Growing Threat to the Caribbean Sea

Open and Nimble

Finding Stable Growth in Small Economies

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Dominican Republic
Alejandra De La Paz
Ave. Lope de Vega No. 29
Torre Novo-Centro, Piso 10,
Ensanche Naco, Santo Domingo
+809 872 7300
adelapaz@worldbank.org