People in Suriname are our priority. That’s why my participation in the Forty Seventh Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands was all about the future of our citizens. The future of Suriname.
Because by bringing productivity, prosperity and social development, we will foster integration, trade and growth. The CDB is providing highly valuable support to Suriname, and as the Minister of Finance, it is my challenge to make sure that this help goes straight to our citizens. Suriname appreciates what the CDB is doing for our country, and for our people.
FORTHY-SEVENTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT BANK, PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
THE GOVERNOR FOR SURINAME HON. GILLMORE HOEFDRAAD
“Madam Chair, fellow members of the Board of Governors, President Smith, members of the Board of Directors, management and staff of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). It is my pleasure to submit the statement on behalf of the government of Suriname for the forty- seventh Meeting of the Board of Governors of the CDB.
We have the pleasure to meet here in the Turks and Caicos to discuss how the CDB can expand its activities and magnify its focus on integration, trade, and growth in the Caribbean. It is essential for the Caribbean counties to focus their trade policies towards increased integration among member countries, concentrating on the economies of scale that the region can offer to our industries and maximizing usage of the comparative advantages that each of our member countries can offer. A necessary, albeit not sufficient condition to enable higher growth and integration is the need to get our fiscal and external policies to a level of long-term sustainability. The authorities in Suriname have been working very hard to restore sustainability and expand our growth outlook in response to the unprecedented fiscal and export revenue shock of the recent past. Beyond that, we—as well as all countries in the Caribbean family—will require durable institutional change and reform to achieve the necessary productivity, prosperity, and social development changes that can foster integration, trade, and growth.
Suriname is working with the CDB under the 2014-18 Strategy, which outlines the Bank’s support for our development plan. It focuses on economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and good governance, with an indicative envelope of US$266.8 million. It began with the Bank’s support for technical and vocational education and training at the lower secondary schools in Suriname in 2014. The support of the CDB become more important in 2016 as Suriname embarked on a substantial macroeconomic adjustment effort to face the consequences of the dramatic fall in government and export revenue due to the fall in international commodity prices. In 2016 the CDB continued their support to Suriname and proved once more to be a trusted partner in our development process even during difficult economic times. The main focus sectors continued to be the Education and the Energy while the CDB also payed attention to the strengthening of the human capacity.
In the Energy sector the CDB approved a Energy Sector Based Loan which was focused on setting the legal framework and organization of the sector as a whole. With the approval of a Energy investment loan of US$ 65 million the CDB is supporting the sector on the infrastructure part by the upgrading and expansion of the transmission and distribution network. These investments are necessary to guarantee a sustainable electricity supply.
The CDB is working closely with other partners active in the Energy Sector namely the Inter- American Development Bank and the French Development Fund the AFD. The Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) project is being implemented in collaboration with the ISDB and had a slow start –up but is performing better this year.
On the issue of capacity building the CDB has been engaged in assessments on poverty and planning while also focusing on strengthening the capacity within the Ministry of Justice & Police and the Ministry of Finance. A Technical Assistance for the Ministry of Finance has been approved in this regard while support through a neighborhood policing programme is in preparation. Furthermore it will be the first time since its membership that Suriname will participate in the Special Development Fund (SDF) of the CDB. Stakeholders meetings have already been held in Suriname, which will lead to the set-up of the programme for our country. The focus is on the poverty reduction by providing basic infrastructure and improving the livelihoods of the poorest.
After the approval of the National Development Plan 2017 – 2021 of Suriname the formulation of the new country strategy between Suriname and the CDB will start and will identify the specific support of our cooperation in the coming years.
The support of the CDB in 2017 and beyond will be vital to implement our ambitious reform agenda that aims at reducing the impact of future commodity price shocks on our economy. In this regard, we are grateful for the CDB’s support of our institutional reforms, which attempt to follow the dictum that “the secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
With those words in mind, we wish to express our appreciation for the effective and continuous work that has been carried out by Bank staff and in particular for the speed, adaptability, and efficiency with which the CDB responds to the changing needs of its member countries.
Suriname continues to be grateful for the Bank’s assistance, both financially and in terms of knowledge and expertise provided through external consultancies and guidance from Bank staff, and we look forward to your continued support and participation in our ongoing development. “