Kingston, Jamaica – History was made today with the first-ever regional Development Credit Authority US$25 million loan portfolio guarantee agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Commercial Bank (NCB) Jamaica Limited to promote energy investment across the Caribbean.
The official signing of the US$25 million loan guarantee agreement took place at the NCB Wellness and Recreational Center. Deputy Chief of Mission for US Embassy Kingston, John McIntyre; USAID Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) John Barsa; and Stuart Reid Assistant General Manager, Corporate, Commercial and Consumer Banking Division, NCB participated as signatories. Also present at the event were the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries, the Honorable Audley Shaw, Mr. Jason Fraser, Country Representative for USAID/Jamaica and Brian Boothe, Senior General Manager, Corporate, Commercial and Consumer Banking Division, NCB.
The loan portfolio guarantee will foster greater lending across the Caribbean to support investments in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the area of energy resilience. The loan guarantee program aims to increase lending to individuals, households, SMEs and companies in jurisdictions across the Caribbean where the bank operates for small-scale non-oil energy projects, such as renewable energy, power generation and distribution, energy efficiency, and green mortgages. It will also support some SME lending, for working capital, machinery, equipment, facilities, business growth, expansion, and other investments.
Recognizing the importance of access to finance as a means of improving and strengthening businesses was highlighted by Deputy Chief of Mission McIntyre. “Without access to finance, the best entrepreneurs with the best ideas will be stuck with only ideas. They need access to finance to turn ideas into reality. A loan guarantee program such as this increases access to finance–spurring entrepreneurs and businesses to invest in endeavors that will strengthen Jamaica’s energy sector resilience.”
Speaking at the signing ceremony Assistant Administrator Barsa emphasized the importance of partnership and investment within the energy sector. “These types of investments are critical to increase the diversity of the region’s energy, strengthen the resilience of its energy infrastructure, and decrease the sector’s vulnerability to natural disasters. Our partnership will continue to advance and evolve to fit our common goals in the energy sector, a sector which forms a crucial element of Jamaica’s and the region’s journey to self-reliance.”
This program supports the U.S. government’s Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI), which seeks to advance diverse, resilient, cost-effective, and secure energy systems across the Caribbean. CESI is a key pillar of the U.S.-Caribbean 2020 strategy, a whole-of-government approach aimed at increasing U.S. engagement with the Caribbean region to advance peace, prosperity and security.
U.S. Government and NCB principals officially sign the first-ever Regional Development Credit
Authority Loan Agreement. Participating in the signing ceremony from left seated, U.S. Deputy
Chief of Mission, Mr. John McIntyre, Assistant General Manager, Corporate, Commercial and
Consumer Banking Division, NCB, Steward Reid, and Assistant Administrator for the Latin
America and the Caribbean Bureau, USAID, Mr. John Barsa. Looking on at the signing are the
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture & Fisheries, the Honorable Audley Shaw (center),
Mr. Jason Fraser, Country Representative for USAID/Jamaica (right) and Mr. Brian Boothe,
Senior General Manager, Corporate, Commercial and Consumer Banking Division, NCB (left).