The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved Thursday additional financing of US$11.9 million for the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) underway in Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
This financing will allow the completion of the regional broadband network as well as training activities, business incubation loans, and implementation support.
The program has established undersea cables connecting the three countries and is rolling out terrestrial fiber optics.
More than half of the office buildings in all three islands have been connected to the internet and over half of schools are connected in two of the countries.
With this additional financing, schools in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will be connected to internet services. Key results include increasing access to regional broadband networks and helping develop an Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-enabled services industry.
“Development of digital technology is essential for local, national, regional, and global connectivity and it is especially important for the small states in the Eastern Caribbean,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
“Affordable and good quality high-speed internet is critical and plays a central role in connecting people, creating efficiency in public and private services, enhancing productivity and increasing countries’ capabilities to manage natural disasters and crises.”
The program was developed as part of the Caribbean region ICT strategy—the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Digital Agenda 2025—which was designed to address the challenges of a fragmented market and uneven distribution of resources in this sector.
The ongoing CARCIP program provided financing in the amount of US$25 million. Of the US$11.9 million approved today, US$3 million will go to Grenada, US$4.1 million to Saint Lucia, and US$4.8 million to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
These additional funds will cover financing gaps, including cost increases in infrastructure construction and training activities.