st lucia afreximbank

St. Lucia receives historic US$6 million loan from Afreximbank Caribbean office

CAIRO, Egypt --The Caribbean island of St. Lucia has become the first nation in the Caribbean region to receive a loan from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) through the bank's recently-established Caribbean Office in Bridgetown, Barbados. 

Afreximbank announced this week that it has successfully executed its first facility disbursement of US $6 million Sovereign Term Loan Facility to the government of St. Lucia through its Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Youth Economy.

The Education Rehabilitation Climate-linked facility is a pilot by Afreximbank for its financing in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region, following the approval granted by the Bank’s Board of Directors for a $1.5 billion limit for member states of the CARICOM. The facility will help in the infrastructure rehabilitation of St. Lucia, including 25 schools damaged during tropical storm Bret which affected the country in June 2023.

Commenting on the facility disbursement during a visit by the Afreximbank delegation led by Mr. Okechukwu Ihejirika, Acting Chief Operating Officer in charge of the Caribbean Office, Prime Minister Philip J Pierre of St. Lucia said that the facility would enable the country to ensure continued education and capacity building for its youth. Storm Bret has caused extensive damage to some schools’ infrastructure forcing many children to study under hazardous conditions. The team also toured Bishop Charles Gachet R.C. Primary School, which is scheduled to benefit from the disbursed facility.

The facility underscores our proactive approach to addressing economic challenges and our commitment to joint efforts to close funding gaps

Speaking on the significance of the disbursement, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, said that the facility highlighted the Bank’s unwavering commitment to supporting member states during times of crises, ensuring financial stability. 

“The facility underscores our proactive approach to addressing economic challenges and our commitment to joint efforts to close funding gaps, as well as promote trade and investments between Africa and the Caribbean,” added Prof. Oramah. “We are proud to have played a pivotal role in this achievement which stands to make significant contribution to St Lucia’s socio-economic development.”

St. Lucia’s tourism-dependent economy has faced significant economic challenges due to consecutive external shocks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, with the subsequent halt in tourism, which led to a 24 per cent decline in real GDP in 2020 and a notable increase in unemployment. The war in Ukraine has also added inflationary pressures due to St. Lucia's reliance on fuel and food imports.

St. Lucia recently signed and ratified the Afreximbank Partnership Agreement.