#Nassau, October 29, 2019 – The Bahamas – The Bahamas Development Bank is presently undergoing a transformation through which it intends to expand its products and services to maximize existing powers under the Bahamas Development Bank Act, 1974.
The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) is making efforts to incubate emerging or struggling industries to expand the economy, create moreopportunities and ensure that natural resources will continue to provide for future generations, Managing Director Dave Smith said in his address of the annual Exuma Business Outlook on the topic, ‘Connecting Resources, Maximizing Opportunities: Transforming Exuma.’
He continued: “These kinds of transformative programs have a higher rate of success/sustainability because BDB is able to connect technical expertise, funding, and governmental support through partnerships with international agencies such as IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, CARDI(CaribbeanAgricultural Research and Development Institute),and various government ministries, departments and agencies such as the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources.”
This approach, he said, creates an environment that facilitates the “ease of getting into and/or doing business”through the bank’s favorable credit terms, coordination that reduces barriers and greater awareness of the available concessions under various encouragement Acts.
The 13th annual Exuma Business Outlook was held October 24th at Sandals Emerald Bay resort. The theme for the event was ‘Stimulating Growth: We’ve Made it our Business.’
Providing an overview, Mr. Smith said the bank’s mandate is to advance opportunities for economic empowerment for Bahamians. Established in 1974, he said unlike any other bank in this country it is a developmental finance institution, driven by profit and the responsibility to create positive externalities that support overall national development through economic investment.
During the past four decades BDB has extended credit to hundreds of entrepreneurs in various sectors such as manufacturing, fishing, services, transportation and tourism; played a significant role in building essential inter-island connections and acted as the principal funding agent for mailboat services and more.
“This kind of facilitation translates into wealth creation, job creation, increased exports and reduced imports, thus transforming and growingour economy,” he noted.
Today, the bank continues to act as a catalyst for economic development providing loan funding for small and medium Bahamian enterprises through partnerships with the Small Business Development Center.
Mr. Smith highlighted the bank’s investment in a number of programmes and initiatives aimed at spurring economic activity across the archipelago. He cited two examples: the Industrialization of Cascarilla in Acklins, Crooked Island and Samana Cay and an Apiary Programme in Grand Bahama where more than 30 young persons were trained in “bee keeping.”
He advised that a sustainable approach to development that includes climate resiliency for businesses and residents is more necessary since the passing of Hurricane Dorian.
“As we look to rebuild, BDB will champion opportunitiesfor Bahamians that will ultimately enhance our self-sufficiency. In the short term, we are proposing a poultry revitalization project for Grand Bahama and a small ruminant program for Long Island that will combine training, logistics, and market preparedness. We anticipate that these pilot projects will be duplicated where appropriate,” he said.
Bonefishing tours, fishing boats and equipment, vehicles and taxis, hotels and motels are among the industries that the BDB has extended loans for in Exuma.
He said the bank is working to strengthen partnerships with impactful organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce.
As BDB transforms, Mr. Smith noted: “While our credit extension facilities have supported SME growth across the archipelago over the last four decades, we will increase our efficacy by expanding or activities to include those typically offered in our region by development financing institutions (e.g. capital leases, guarantees, equity positions) in concert with other local development institutions.”
“Further, as BDB continues to be a catalyst for economic development we recognize stakeholder collaboration and partnership, service consistency and communication to raise awareness in the areas of access and opportunity as important axioms for BDB’s success. We intend to be transparent and inclusive as we craft and communicate our progress on specific programs and policies,” he added.
Photo Caption: Bahamas Development Bank Managing Director, Dave Smith.