CDB, EIB announce EUR 30M Agreement for Vaccines, Healthcare

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(Caribbean Development Bank Press Release) The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and European Investment Bank (EIB) are partnering to provide EUR 30 million (USD 36 million) to CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and make new healthcare investments.

The funding will also facilitate other health-related emergency expenditure to limit the spread of the virus, will help protect vulnerable groups and accelerate the region’s return to normal economic activities.

The financing will strengthen the public health systems that are dealing with the pandemic including, improving capacity for testing, tracing and treatment, logistics, storage, transport and monitoring activities as well as the purchase of vaccines and the execution of vaccination campaigns. The concessional financing falls under the broader CDB-EIB cooperation to improve resilience in the region.

President of CDB, Dr Gene Leon and Vice President of the EIB, Ricardo Mourinho Félix announced the agreement today at a virtual signing ceremony.  

“The Region has been severely impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Job losses have reached unprecedented levels; foreign exchange and remittance flows have been disrupted, and traditional revenue sources have dried up whilst Government’s COVID-related expenditures have risen sharply,” CDB President, Dr. Gene Leon said.

CDB welcomes the partnership with the EIB. Through this support, we will be able to deliver vaccines and health services to our populations, thereby preparing the groundwork for the safe conduct of industrial, commercial and social activities,” he added. 

“By spreading the cost of vaccinating the population over time, and by providing new funding for health-sector interventions, the CDB-EIB partnership will help Caribbean countries protect vulnerable groups against the impact of COVID-19,” stated EIB Vice President Ricardo Mourinho Félix.

This complements the EUR 500 million in funding the EU has provided for Gavi, the global Vaccine Alliance, to support affordable and equitable access to vaccines for 92 countries around the world, including six in the Caribbean – Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Commenting on the agreement, EIB President, Werner Hoyer said, “Strong international cooperation is essential for ending the COVID-19 crisis, and to unlocking a global economic and social recovery. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the European Investment Bank has worked with a range of partners globally to ensure a rapid and targeted response. As part of Team Europe, the EIB has already supported COVAX to make vaccines available in low and middle income countries through our largest ever financing for public health. The agreement with CDB today represents a key step to enable a faster recovery in the Caribbean region.”

Team Europe and COVAX

The proposed emergency financing is part of the policy and operational response of the EIB, in close cooperation with the European Commission (EC), to the COVID-19 epidemic breakout outside the EU. It is part of the EIB contribution to the Team Europe response to the COVID-19 crisis.

This initiative complements the grant of EUR 8 million (USD 8.6 million) the EU gave the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to help coordinate the regional response to combat the outbreak. EUR 1.9 million of this funding was used for vaccine purchases through COVAX, the global facility that reduces the cost of vaccines and equitably distributes these to participating countries. 

CDB and EIB cooperation

CDB and EIB’s cooperation currently centres on climate action and resilience and spans four decades. In the last 10 years, USD 120 million in concessional finance has been made available for climate action projects across the Caribbean such as water supply investments, energy efficiency, green energy, flood protection and climate resilient communities.

The COVID-19 funding will be managed by CDB through its regular lending operations with its BMCs. It will finance operational and capital expenditures aimed at strengthening the emergency response against the COVID–19 crisis, and at increasing future pandemic preparedness of the Caribbean region. In particular, it will support the acquisition of vaccines and the deployment of vaccination campaigns.

The loan will also finance the equipment and, consumables (protective materials and equipment, hygiene and disinfection measures) purchased to tame the pandemic of COVID-19 in line with the relevant national pandemic or civil protection / disaster plans. Healthcare related investment under this partnership could include support for laboratory diagnostics equipment, oxygen generation systems and field hospitals systems for rapid emergency deployment.

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