Barbados has received a US$100-million loan from the World Bank, which will support the country’s COVID-19 relief efforts and promote a resilient economic recovery from the crisis.
Under the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Development Policy Loan for Barbados, the authorities will seek to ease the severe socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic in a country that is heavily dependent on revenues from tourism.
According to Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country director for the Caribbean, the pandemic has also affected the implementation of Barbados’s economic reform programme.
“There have been serious impacts on key sectors such as tourism, leading to an increase in unemployment, with disproportionate effects on women. The World Bank’s assistance will contribute to the country’s efforts for a resilient and inclusive socioeconomic recovery,” she noted.
Since the pandemic, the country’s has economy contracted by an estimated 18 per cent and unemployment claims reached roughly one third of the workforce in 2020. In the tourism industry, which accounts for 40 per cent of jobs, more than half are women.
To this end, the World Bank loan programme aims to help Barbados strengthen the response to COVID-19, enhance macroeconomic and fiscal management, and promote financial resilience for a sustainable recovery.
“Measures supported include the adoption of a COVID-19 vaccination strategy and a programme that helps tourism-related sectors sustain employment. It also supports reform actions to strengthen payment systems and adopt an enhanced legal framework for customs and a new Central Bank law,” a release from the financial institution read.
Furthermore, the operation will support the Government’s efforts to strengthen disaster risk financing and resilience policies and improve the regulation and supervision of the insurance industry’s disaster risk exposure.