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(Photo: WIC News)

World Bank loan to support St Lucia’s COVID-19 recovery

(Photo: WIC News)

The World Bank’s board of directors on Thursday approved the disbursement of US$30 million to the Saint Lucia COVID-19 Response, Recovery, and Resilience Development Policy Credit.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe social and economic impacts on the Caribbean small states, especially those that are highly dependent on tourism, like Saint Lucia,” Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country director for the Caribbean.

World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean Tahseen Sayed (File photo)

As such, the World Bank estimates that Saint Lucia lost 18 per cent of gross domestic product last year due to the almost complete halt in tourism.

With the credit facility, the Eastern Caribbean country should be able to reduce the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 crisis on its most vulnerable citizens. It also aims to strengthen St Lucia’s economic recovery from the crisis and enhance resilience to shocks in the medium term.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe social and economic impacts on the Caribbean small states, especially those that are highly dependent on tourism, like Saint Lucia”

— World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean Tahseen Sayed

“This financing aims to provide Saint Lucia urgent support to protect lives and livelihoods and strengthen economic resilience,” Sayed noted.

In particular, the World Bank programme will help the government improve the capacity of the health sector and provide short-term relief to the poor, small businesses, and the most severely affected workers. It will promote measures to ensure business continuity and save jobs.

A section of Castries, capital of St Lucia. (Photo: LinkedIn @Invest St Lucia)

In the medium-term, the operation will support St Lucia’s resilience through structural reforms to improve public financial management, procurement, and debt transparency. Through reforms, the World Bank credit programme will also enhance the country financial resilience to disasters while strengthening education sector policies.

The financing, which is from the International Development Association (IDA), is interest-free with a maturity of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years.