World Bank announces $3 million of new funding for Dominica's COVID-19 recovery

Having responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, on Tuesday, the Commonwealth of Dominica lifted its state of emergency. On June 26th, the World Bank announced that it will provide Dominica with an additional $3 million financing. With a 40-year maturity and a 10-year grace period, this replenishes the island's funds for COVID-19-related measures. Besides Dominica, another three Eastern Caribbean nations will benefit from a $15-million top-up from the World Bank, aimed at supporting their health sectors.

The island nation has no active cases, having registered no related deaths and only 18 positive results. The last reported case recovered from the virus on the 18th of June. The World Bank estimates that the carribean country has a population of 71,625 (2018).

In April, the World Bank assisted Dominica with $6.6 million to strengthen its response to the pandemic. Consequently, on June 30th, the Dominican authorities did not find it necessary to extend the state of emergency or curfew. Borders remain closed, whereas key economic sectors are reopening. The government encourages citizens to continue practicing public health measures.

"The additional financing ensures that important health projects receive quick replenishment of funds to continue their activities and accomplish project objectives," said Ms Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, cited in a press release from the institution. "The World Bank is now moving to its next phase of support, helping countries address the social, economic, and financial impacts of the crisis and prepare for a resilient and sustainable recovery," the institution's latest update notes.

On Sunday, Dominica's Minister for Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, Dr Irving McIntyre said some of the country's economic sectors were "back on track". Speaking with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Dr McIntyre discussed how the government was simultaneously preparing for the annual hurricane season. After category-5 Hurricane Maria caused widespread destruction in 2017, PM Skerrit pledged to make Dominica "the world's first climate-resilient nation."

The government has been attracting contributions from carefully vetted foreign investors and has been rewarding them with the country's citizenship. Its processes have been so beneficial to both investors and the native population, that the Financial Times' PWM magazine called Dominica the best country for citizenship by investment (CBI). The government used exclusively CBI funds to build over a thousand hurricane-proof homes for previously displaced citizens. Another 14 CBI-funded polyclinics and a modern hospital are also close to completion. Many other sectors benefit from CBI funding, helping Dominica develop a more resilient economy.