President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Gene Leon has said that tackling income inequality and strengthening economic opportunities for women, are high on the bank’s agenda.
Dr Leon was speaking to the CDB Board of Governors, at the bank’s 52nd Annual Meeting which took place in the Turks and Caicos Islands in June.
In his address, Dr Leon spoke about existing and new programmes to be formalised by the CDB.
There are programmes that focus on women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises and some targeting the indigenous community. This is aimed at monetising and preserving cultural artefacts and traditions. A release from the CDB said this will be done by creating new revenue streams for these groups.
According to Dr Leon, “CDB continues to help boost women’s participation in private sector development in its borrowing Member Countries, and is currently coordinating more support to expand their access to finance and investment, training, coaching and mentoring and other technical assistance.”
The bank’s president said the CDB has a target of supporting at least 2000 women-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises by 2024.
Additionally, he noted that the CDB plans to become a regional focal point for an initiative called She Trades, and implement other programmes focused on women of indigenous communities. Through She Trades, the CDB will join a global practice with a global partner and be positioned to match and leverage additional resources to improve market access for women owned businesses.
The CDB President also stated, “the bank is encouraging the governments in its borrowing Member Countries to ensure that their public procurement framework addresses any systemic barriers to women’s participation and that they also promote increased participation by and opportunities for women owned businesses, indigenous people, and persons with disabilities.”
Dr Leon noted that inclusive trade is a critical component to achieving gender parity.