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IDB, Atlantic partner for development in southwest
The Inter-American Development Bank and Atlantic will be pumping $7 million to boost business entrepreneurship in the southwestern peninsula. This was revealed as the IDB and Atlantic launched a local economic development (LED) project at the Point Fortin Town Hall yesterday. Chief executive officer of Atlantic, Nigel Darlow, said LED’s aim was to improve social conditions in the southwest region.
“Our expectation now is that over the next 36 months, LED will bring key stakeholders together to achieve sustainable development for the people,” Darlow said. He added that there was a need to strengthen existing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the depressed communities of La Brea, Point Fortin, Cap-de-Ville, Cedros and Icacos.
“Priority will be given to ‘green’ enterprises and those that are making use of natural resources, such as tourism and agriculture,” Darlow said. He also said assistance would be given to at-risk young people who are currently under-skilled and unable to access employment opportunities. LED, Darlow added, would also facilitate the transfer of knowledge to regions outside the peninsula.
Meanwhile, Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, said the southwest region had a population of under 20,000 people and an unemployment rate of 8.9 per cent. “This is much higher than the national 5.2 per cent figure,” he added. Even though Point Fortin has been the base of operations of some of the largest energy companies, Tewarie said residents have not benefited. However, he said, with the LED programme, local communities will be equipped with resources and skills to improve their livelihoods.
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