The Latin American Development Bank launched its first Caribbean branch at the Central Bank Auditorium on Tuesday.
The branch was launched on the same day of the launch of the CAF Red Report which highlighted the issues and benefits of trade relationships between Latin America and the Caribbean.
Executive president of CAF development bank of Latin America Sergio Diaz-Granados in his remarks pointed out the similarities between the journeys of Caricom and CAF. He said that Caricom, being established 59 years ago was borne out of many Caribbean nations’ independence from colonial nations bore similarities to CAF which was borne out of the desire for real integration among latin nations.
“Our organisations were founded in common values which included respect to sovereignty of Latin and Caribbean nations,” he said.
TT, Jamaica and Barbados are the three Caribbean countries that are shareholders of CAF. TT is a full member of CAF.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert recognised former governor Winston Dookeran for his foresight in making TT a full member of CAF.
“I remember asking him why, because it was such a large sum of money to be spent to join. He told me that it would open up a new pipeline for production financing. That was ten years ago, I was in opposition then, but he was absolutely right. When we came back into government, there was only a little bit left to be done to finalise our full membership which I was very happy to do. Then we accessed financing from CAF.”
CAF is an international banking institution that promotes sustainable development models through credit, non-refundable resources and support in technical and financial structuring of projects in the public and private sectors in Latin America.
From 2016 to 2021 TT received US$1.3 billion in approved loans from CAF for several initiatives including road works, covid19 response and tourism infrastructure. In July this year, CAF approved a US$120 million loan to boost digital transformation.