Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has indicated that his 9-month old National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is looking to raise concessionary financing from outside of traditional agencies like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Bank, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for Grenada’s development.
Addressing reporters Wednesday at a post-Cabinet press briefing, the 45-year old Grenadian leader said that his administration is looking to tap financial resources from a number of financial institutions outside of the region as far off as Africa.
PM Dickon Mitchell disclosed that Grenada is looking at becoming a member of several lending institutions and Cabinet gave approval on Monday for the island to joining the partnership agreement signed recently between the OECS and Caricom and the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) which was established in Nigeria in 1993.
He said the clear intent of the Congress government is to see how Grenada “can leverage non-traditional lending institutions particularly to assist private sector entities within the OECS and Grenada to get additional concessionary financing.”
The Africa bank was set up by African government, African private and institutional investors, as well as non-African financial institutions and private investors for the purpose of financing, promoting and expanding intra-African and extra-African trade.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell also told reporters that his administration was also looking at exploring the possibility of Grenada becoming a member of CAR which is a development bank in Latin America.
He said a team at the Ministry of Finance is currently reviewing the issue with the hope that “we can get Cabinet approval in the not-too-distant future to also be able to partner with that institution.”
“The aim again is to give us as much flexibility as possible when it comes to concessionary financing to drive Grenada’s economic growth,” he added.
According to PM Dickon Mitchell, the Congress administration “is keen to explore things like Carbon trading” in order to lay its hands on additional sources of financing for development.
“We are also keen to explore how we address Climate Change as a concept to leverage for more concessionary financing given the challenges that we face from Climate Change.”
“…The Ministry of Climate Change and Resilience is also key to that. We are also keen to have Grenada and the ministry accredited to a number of the Climate-related funds and to see whether or not we can access concessionary financing from that.”
The Prime Minister also disclosed that his Congress administration was looking to pay-off two long outstanding loans owed to Libya and neighboring Trinidad & Tobago in order to remove Grenada from the unfortunate position of ‘Selective Default (SD) on loan repayments by the IMF.
The Libyan loan was contracted by the 1979-83 People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of late Marxist leader Maurice Bishop for construction of the international airport at Point Salines and the funds from Port-of-Spain came in the aftermath of the widespread destruction of the island by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.