The UK Government is to invest £300M in infrastructure in the Caribbean.
The £300M will fund developments such as roads, bridges and ports and will make the UK one of the largest bilateral donors to the region.
Delivered in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, the government said the infrastructure fund would use money from the UK’s existing aid budget to provide grants over the next few years for a range of projects that would help boost growth and trade across the region, creating jobs as well as opening up opportunities for British contractors.
Prime minister David Cameron said: “We want to help the Caribbean on their path of development - supporting economic growth and creating new opportunities for people living [there].
“That’s what this £300M infrastructure fund is all about. It will help to fund upgrades to ports, new roads and new bridges - making it easier here for businesses to trade with one another and with the rest of the world. And it will help benefit British businesses too who have the knowledge and expertise to deliver the infrastructure improvements needed.”
Types of infrastructure the fund could provide include:
- 750km of upgraded single-lane roads, including 30 to 40 bridges
- 20 large water production, storage and transmission systems
- 75km of sea and river defences
- 15 ports upgraded by providing specialist equipment to speed up freight movements
- 30 solid waste management projects for major cities/communities.
To further encourage UK-Jamaica business links, the UK Government said that it would also extend £100M in export finance to Jamaica.
In 2014 the UK exported trade totalling £1.1bn to the Caribbean and with bilateral trade at £2.55bn, the UK is the number one export destination for much of the Commonwealth Caribbean.
UK Export Finance will now be able to consider medium and long term financing options for private and public sector borrowers in the UK, looking to invest in Jamaica.
The Government will also provide an additional £30M to strengthen hospital infrastructure so they are more structurally resistant to natural disasters.
The Prime Minister announced the new fund on Tuesday in Jamaica which it said it hopes will reinvigorate the relationship between the UK and the Caribbean countries.