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China gives US$1m to CDF

Trevor Yearwood

China gives US$1m to CDF

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THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY’S (CARICOM) economic development thrust has just received a US$1 million boost from the government of China.
China’s Ambassador to Barbados Wei Qiang yesterday made a symbolic handover of the money to Ambassador Lorne McDonnough, the CARICOM Development Fund’s (CDF)?chief executive officer at the fund’s office, Old Town Hall Building, Bridgetown.
The donation to the CDF pushes to US$89 million the funds being used “to provide technical and financial assistance to minimize CARICOM Single Market and Economy-related dislocation and enhance the participation of disadvantaged countries, sectors and regions in the CSME”, McDonnough said during the short ceremony.
The CDF, set up by CARICOM in 2008, has aid programmes in place with the governments of Belize, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines to an overall value of US$13.9 million.
“The majority of these resources are to support the development of private enterprises and improve competitiveness and, in the final analysis, to assist in creating new jobs and increased incomes,” McDonnough pointed out.
“We at the CDF see this contribution as the start of a mutually beneficial partnership which will lead to collaborative activities in a number of areas to be fully explored,” he told reporters.
The funds were pledged by China’s Vice-Premier Wang Qishan during the third China-Caribbean Economic Trade Co-operation Forum held recently in Trinidad and Tobago.
Wei said the contribution was “a demonstration of the Chinese government’s strong support to the cause of regional integration of CARICOM”.
He saw the contribution as “yet another demonstration of the strong willingness and commitment” of China “to constantly promote the traditionally friendly co-operation ties” between China and this region “under the new international circumstances, based on our good mutual political understanding and trust”.
He said that like Caribbean nations, China was a developing country and as such felt “there are a whole lot of common points and interests between one and the other side, in particular with regard to our shared urgent need to achieve quick and sustainable economic and social development”. (TY)