Saint Lucia
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CDB Approves USD 7.6 Million Loan for Youth Enterprise Programmes in Saint Lucia

In this file photo, Mr Isaac Solomon, Vice President, Operations, CDB (second left) engages with regional youth leaders.
In this file photo, Mr Isaac Solomon, Vice President, Operations, CDB (second left) engages with regional youth leaders.

THE Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a USD 7.6 million loan to boost youth participation and engagement in socially-inclusive, gender-responsive, and environmentally-resilient business enterprises in Saint Lucia.  

 The initiative, aimed at 15 to 35-year-olds, will provide a ‘one-stop solution’ for grant and loan financing as well as training and mentorship under the Youth Economy Project (YEP) of Saint Lucia’s Youth Economy Agency (YEA), the agency established to address high levels of unemployment among Saint Lucia’s increasing youth population.  

 Project activities include training for 600 youth in business development, planning, marketing, and business management. Additionally, 120 young persons will benefit from business mentoring, and coaching. Financing (loans and grants) will be made available to over 3,000 male and female young people between the ages of 18 and 25 to support enterprise activities in agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, retail, and the services industries as well as the blue, green, and orange economies.    

The project is being implemented by Saint Lucia’s Youth Economy Agency (YEA). The YEA will also benefit from technical assistance to strengthen its institutional capacity, particularly with regard to implementing social, gender, and environmental safeguards.  

Other activities include monitoring and evaluation; grievance redress mechanism, building resilience to climate-related and other shocks, and strengthening inter-agency partnerships and networking of the YEA through the services of a Social and Gender Specialist, Environmental Officer, and Financing Specialist.  

 CDB’s Vice President, Operations, Mr. Isaac Solomon, pointed out that the project aligns with the CDB’s Youth Policy and Operational Strategy 2020 and the Bank’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development through building production resilience. He noted that both the Bank and the Saint Lucia National Youth Policy and Action Plan recognise the country’s youth population as the primary agents of change.   

“Youth are the societal building blocks, possessing unmatched levels of innovation, creativity, and technological aptitude and intentional strategies are still necessary to address the economic participation of the growing youthful population to build on the progress already made,” Mr. Solomon said.  

“The provision of concessionary financing to youth led MSMEs supports entrepreneurship, the creation of employment, expanding the productive sector and positioning MSMEs to contribute to long-term growth, will reduce youth disengagement and disincentivise involvement in criminal activity, promote gender equality and increase social resilience,” he added.   

The project, which will be financed with resources from the CDB and the YEA, will be implemented over 18 months, commencing in October 2023.