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BDB looks to expand services

The Bahamas Development Bank is undergoing a transformation to expand its products and services to incubate emerging or struggling industries to expand the economy and create more opportunities. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) is undergoing a transformation through which it intends to expand its products and services.

The bank is making efforts to incubate emerging or struggling industries to expand the economy, create more opportunities and ensure that natural resources will continue to provide for future generations, managing director Dave Smith said in his address at the annual Exuma Business Outlook conference.

He continued: “These kinds of transformative programmes 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 (Caribbean Agricultural 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 favourable credit terms, coordination that reduces barriers and a greater awareness of the available concessions under various encouragement Acts.

The 13th annual Exuma Business Outlook was held October 24 at Sandals Emerald Bay resort.

Providing an overview, 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 growing our 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.

As BDB transforms, 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 (eg 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.

The Bahamas Financial Services Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Financial Services hosted two successful briefings in Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil on October 14-17.

While The Bahamas fell in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rating by one point in 2019, the Ministry of Finance says it is satisfied with advancements in key areas.

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