Why the time is right for the Caribbean to build forward

Getty Images
Getty Images
Racquel Moses
by Racquel Moses
9 April 2021
From natural disasters, to COVID-19, to the abrupt collapse of the tourism industry, Caribbean countries have acutely felt the global shocks of recent years.

And while the impact of these traumas has been great, so too is the opportunity to now chart our own resilient future.

As CEO of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator (CCSA) I have seen Caribbean people prove their resilience time and time again and I know that we will rise to the challenges ahead.

The region’s increased exposure to disasters (among other shocks) has called for a rethink of investment priorities, and in response the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced the Build Forward initiative – a US$3.5-billion multi-year programme to help Caribbean countries sustainably recover and become more resilient.

Build Forward
Build Forward

This incredible commitment from the IDB will change lives and create better opportunities for the region - championing smart solutions and technological leaps that will undoubtedly facilitate a transformational future for generations to come.

“We are thrilled to have donors join our Build Forward initiative, which will prepare the people and places of the Caribbean for the future we create together. Build Forward is focused on giving citizens of the Caribbean the opportunity to thrive in the more digital future. It will provide better infrastructure services for all citizens - creating jobs, reducing poverty and bringing much-needed advanced technology into the region,” said Therese Turner-Jones, IDB’s Caribbean general manager.

Build Forward will continue to leverage CCSA’s existing partnership with IDB through initiatives such as PIVOT, Resilience Scorecards, and the Caribbean Action Challenge. In addition to this, the programme will work with Caribbean countries to implement national investment plans, project banks, and project prototypes – all essential elements for a wholistic regional growth programme.

If economies are to simultaneously grow, and treat their citizens fairly, they must overcome their own infrastructure and human development deficits. Build Forward’s financing mechanisms will do just this – structured in a way that will help governments finance key resilient investments at a time of limited fiscal space.

The Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator launched in 2018 and is committed to making the Caribbean the world's first climate-smart zone. Virgin Unite and Richard Branson are part of the coalition of leaders who incubated the accelerator.