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Government of Jamaica

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Government of Jamaica

GOJ AND THE IDB SIGN EU FUNDED NON-REIMBURSABLE FINANCING AGREEMENT FOR BIGEE

The Hon. Nigel Clarke, D.Phil., MP
The Hon. Nigel Clarke, D.Phil., MP

Minister of Finance and the Public Service

The Restructuring of Public Sector Compensation

Kingston, Jamaica: Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed the European Union (EU) funded Non-Reimbursable Financing Agreement for specific contribution to support the Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Programme during a visibility ceremony held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Before the symbolic signing of the financial agreement, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Nigel Clarke, DPhil., M.P. delivered the keynote remarks where he noted that the  GOJ has a “dependable partner” in the European Union.

“We are here today, celebrating the €7 million non-reimbursable grant from the European Union to this BIGEE Programme. What this means is that, we don’t have to pay the money back and that €7 million (USD 8.1 million) is over 1.2 billion Jamaican dollars. We are very grateful to the European Union for this support.”  He further added, “For us to have the kind of economic growth that can support the kind of jobs, we need value added private sector activity, which is all based on innovation.”

Her Excellency Marianne Van Steen, Ambassador/Head of Delegation, European Union in her remarks shared the same sentiments as Minister Clarke as she commended Jamaicans for being “innovative and enterprising” during the pandemic. The EU’s contribution of a €7.4 million grant (approximately 1.2 billion Jamaican dollars) over a five-year period will complement the existing USD25 million loans being provided to the Government of Jamaica by the Inter-American Development Bank within the framework of the BIGEE Programme. In this regard, I am pleased to note that the loan component of the programme has so far achieved encouraging results. Notably, the distribution of go-Digital vouchers has allowed entrepreneurs to leverage important tools and services to scale up operations,” she further added.

Carmen Madriz, IDB’s General Manager [Acting] for Caribbean Countries noted that, “This grant will provide additional resources targeted at gender access, climate change and COVID-19 impact for established MSMEs, scalable start-ups and high potential start-ups within the programme.” She added, “The grant will also benefit public and private institutions that support the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem such as incubators, accelerators, academia and technological transfer offices, with projects that show potential to solve problems in areas such as climate change, gender inclusion, and COVID-19 challenges.”

Anthony Shaw, Managing Director at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) noted that the grants received will help to build the local MSME ecosystem. The BIGEE Programme is being implemented by the DBJ with the main objective of promoting sustainable and robust growth among start-ups and MSMEs in Jamaica.

The partnership with the EU and the IDB continues to be solidified through the continued on-going support of the GOJ’s growth and development objectives. The finalisation of the Non-Reimbursable Financial Agreement is a strong indicator of the commitment of the IDB and EU to the sustainable economic development of Jamaica’s MSME sector. Applications for grants funded through the BIGEE Programme are open at https://www.thinkbigee.com/.

For more information contact:

Corporate Communication & Public Relations Branch
Ministry of Finance and the Public Service
30 National Heroes Circle
Kingston 4
Tel: (876) 932-4656/4660/4655

The Hon. Nigel Clarke, D.Phil., MP

Minister of Finance and the Public Service
30 National Heroes Circle, Kingston 4
Tel: (876) 932-4656 / 4660 / 4655
Eml: opedjamaica@gmail.com

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