World Bank approves US$40m for Jamaica to boost agriculture and rural livelihoods

World Bank approves US$40m for Jamaica to boost agriculture and rural livelihoods

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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WASHINGTON, United States — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$40 million loan for Jamaica to boost income opportunities and job creation in rural areas through the second phase of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI II).

World Bank said the project will improve access to markets and resilience to climate change for around 200 agricultural and rural tourism micro, small, and medium enterprises. It will also provide training for relevant public sector institutions and partners.

Around 70,000 people are expected to benefit from investments in productive activities, training, and capacity building, with inclusion of youth and women as a priority, the bank said.

“Reducing rural poverty, creating jobs, and enhancing climate resilience are critical priorities for Jamaica,” said Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Representative for Jamaica.

“The World Bank is delighted to support the continuation of the REDI project that will provide additional income opportunities for poor rural households—with a focus on youth and women,” Sevimli added.

Nearly half of Jamaica's population lives in rural areas and agriculture accounts for eight per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing over 18 per cent of the active population, the bank said.

Pointing out that tourism is another critical driver of the Jamaican economy, accounting for over nine per cent of GDP in 2016, World Bank said REDI II will promote linkages between these two key sectors by developing efficient tourism clusters, with an emphasis on enhancing connections between producers, service providers and buyers.

“The impact of extreme weather events poses significant potential losses to GDP and employment in Jamaica. Climate resilient approaches under the REDI II project aim to incorporate increased access to climate-smart technologies and infrastructure. It will also promote adaptation and mitigation measures to improve productivity, boost resilience and build sustainability,” a World Bank press release said.

The bank said the Jamaican Social Investment Fund will implement REDI II on behalf of the Government of Jamaica.

“The first phase of the REDI project successfully concluded in 2017. It benefitted over 19,000 micro and small-scale rural producers as well as providers of tourism products and services. Among them, 22 per cent were younger than 30 and 51 per cent were women,” World Bank said.

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