A total of US$7.2 million will be made available to micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism and agricultural sectors, to finance climate change adaptation initiatives islandwide.
The money, which will be in the form of loans and grants, is being provided under the Adaptation Programme and Financing Mechanism Project, a component of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) in Jamaica.
The Project is a five-year initiative which aims to increase Jamaica’s resilience to climate change, through enhancing adaptive capacity across priority sectors.
This component of the PPCR is being implemented by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The initiative was formalised during a signing ceremony at Jamaica House in St. Andrew, on July 28.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell; Managing Director, Development Bank of Jamaica, Milverton Reynolds; General Manager, JN Small Business Loans, Gillian Hyde; and Programme Manager, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), Allison Rangolan McFarlane.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said the Government intends to increase its efforts to pursue long-term, transformative development and accelerate sustainable, climate-resilient economic growth.
“As a Government, we have pledged to protect the environment while creating jobs to drive the engine of economic growth, and we cannot allow climate change and other environmental impacts to impede us,” he said.
The Minister thanked all the partners involved in the initiative, noting that it represents an excellent opportunity to build on the work that has already begun in fostering sustainable development through partnership.
For her part, Ms. Hyde said the new loan facility will be open to qualified MSME beneficiaries who will be eligible for a loan amount between $200,000 and $5 million.
She pointed out that the loan will be available at a maximum interest rate of four per cent per annum.
For her part, Ms. Rangolan McFarlane said the money will be accessible to community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, other civil-society groups and selected public-sector agencies, for clearly defined high-priority activities.
She added that these should be related to building the resilience of the natural environment and contributing to livelihood protection and poverty reduction.
General Manager, Country Department, Caribbean Group, Inter-American Development Bank, Therese Turner Jones, said the initiative is another in a series of partnerships to assist in the development of the country.
“We are looking to see how this pilot is going to work, so we can think about replicating this elsewhere in the region,” she said, adding that the initiative is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
The project involves a Climate Change Adaptation Line of Credit and a special Climate Change Adaptation Fund.
The Line of Credit will provide loan financing to help MSMEs in the tourism and agricultural sectors to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The loans will be administered by the JN Small Business Loans Limited. The sum of US$2.5 million is being provided for this.
The Adaptation Fund will provide grants to adaptation and disaster risk reduction projects and finance the associated programme management costs.
Grants will be provided using the successful EFJ grant-making model. The EFJ will be the Fund Administrator for the US$4.7 million being provided.
Credit: Jamaica Information Service