The Government of Barbados announced at the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris an integrated package of innovative initiatives to accelerate its transition to net zero, boost resilience, enfranchise workers, and draw in private sector investment while prudently managing public debt levels. These initiatives build on the ongoing climate policy reforms, supported by the Resilience and Sustainability Facility with the International Monetary Fund, which are expected to play a catalytic role in mobilizing private and public sector financing for climate projects.
This package of initiatives reflects unprecedented cooperation and a new "system approach" between the Government, its Resilience and Sustainability Facility (RSF) at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Barbados' long-standing financing partners; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank Group (WBG), Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF), European Investment Bank (EIB), and Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Barbados is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and it needs to invest heavily to protect its citizens from hurricanes, flooding and droughts, and to preserve its natural capital. It is committed to achieving sustainable public debt levels, meaning that the government has limited borrowing capacity for public investments. To meet these challenges, it has identified four complementary approaches together with its financing partners.
A New Blue Green Bank
In a first of its kind, the Government of Barbados has decided to use US$10 million from the fiscal space created by the RSF as capital for a new Blue Green Bank.
This capital will support five times that lending amount. It will pave the way for other partners, including GCF, CAF and IDB, to support the Blue Green Bank through technical support or capitalization, with GCF proposing to its Board in July to become a co-founding partner in the bank.
Once established, The Blue Green Bank will help finance over US$250 million of green investments in affordable homes, hurricane-resilient roofs, the electrification of public and private transport, and other Paris-aligned investments.
More Resilient Infrastructure Through New Low-Cost, Long-Term Loan Instruments from Development Finance Institutions
Low-cost and long-term financing instruments from the EIB, CAF, IDB, GCF and RSF will support Government investment in resilient water and waste treatment infrastructure, flood and coastal protection and support its efforts to transform state owned enterprises and enfranchise workers.
The EIB has made available US$18 million of grants from the European Union (EU) to support climate-resilient water, sanitation, and clean ocean projects across the Caribbean to back a US$165 million loan facility.
The GCF will offer up to US$1.5 million in grants per project for end-to-end project preparations, innovation, and transformational impact, and to prepare investment proposals for further GCF funding.
Better and More Affordable PPPs
Barbados' multilateral financing partners will strengthen project preparation support to attract private investment in Private Public Partnerships (PPP) to build more resilient infrastructure. The IDB will support and help develop the Government's capacity and expertise in PPPs.
The World Bank Group's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency has made available investment guarantees to help reduce the cost of private sector financing.
The World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation will support Barbados in developing the first large-scale onshore wind project in the country and enhance the resilience of the grid.
Developing New Non-Debt Investments in Nature and Social Capital
The Government of Barbados is working with its development partners to build on the success of the 2022 Blue Bond with IDB and The Nature Conservancy, which released approximately US$50 million of new financial resources for marine conservation. Particular focus is on a new generation of instruments to support investments in nature and social capital.
Together, these initiatives will help Barbados meet its resilience objectives and protect its citizens, whilst helping transform the economy and protect its pristine natural environment.
- Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados commented, “Alongside new capital, innovative instruments, partnerships and new ways of working together are critical if we are to overcome the challenges posed by climate, pandemics and debt. These new, integrated, initiatives announced today are embodiment of what can come out of new cooperative ways of working together.”
- Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said, “We welcome Barbados’ initiatives to catalyze private climate finance, and the related push to bring together multiple partners in pursuit of a common goal. The Fund is fully committed to supporting our members’ efforts to meet their climate goals—including through the Resilience and Sustainability Facility – and we look forward to our continued partnership with Barbados as the government takes steps to green the economy.”
- Ilan Goldfajn, President, Inter-American Development Bank Group, said, “The IDB has long been one of Barbados’ closest and most committed development partners. We are delighted to take advantage of this opportunity to collaborate with the IMF and other partners to build on our successful recent blue bond issuance, and promising experiences across the region with project preparation and structuring to help catalyze new and larger volumes of private financing for resilient climate smart investment. These and other innovative financing and support mechanisms will be crucial to help Barbados meet the challenges of a rapidly changing climate.”
- Sergio Díaz-Granados, Executive President of CAF asserted that as a home-grown development bank owned by the countries Latin America and the Caribbean, CAF understands the myriad challenges faced by small islands, like Barbados, as a result of the effects of climate change. “CAF is committed to doing its part in channelling increased resources and is very pleased to join forces with other development partners to mobilize dedicated financing that will help to strengthen the resilience of our member countries.”
- Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, commented that, “We have no time to lose to support countries like Barbados that are already facing the devastating consequences of climate change. Following Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s call to action, we are delivering swift and targeted support. We will start offering extended loan tenors to lower and middle-income countries, and are seeking to provide natural disaster risk clauses in our loans to ensure the most vulnerable communities can recover and rebuild following a crisis. As the EU Climate Bank, alongside our Team Europe partners, the EIB is constantly working to increase the impact of its climate lending and support for vulnerable countries like Barbados.”
- Henry Gonzalez, Executive Director ad interim of the Green Climate Fund stated, “The Blue Green Bank will transform the financing landscape in Barbados and catalyse new finance for sustainable climate investments. GCF has provided technical and financial support in developing the concept, and our Board will consider making a substantial investment in the new Bank at its meeting next month.”
- Makhtar Diop, IFC Managing Director, said, “Barbados is redoubling efforts to bolster its climate resilience and become a low-carbon leader. IFC will continue to work closely with the country and collaborate with other multilateral institutions to accelerate the flow of private capital in support of Barbados' ambitions."