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TaiwanICDF and CDF Partner Up-Helping Women SMEs Pursue a Green Transition in the Caribbean

Published Sat November 4, 2023

On November 3, the TaiwanICDF and CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) signed a US$3 million contribution agreement for the CRAF-WomenSMEs Program in St. Lucia. Peter Chen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, witnessed the signing. This program helps women small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Caribbean invest in renewable energy and energy-efficient facilities,  unlocking women’s power to take the lead in transitioning the region toward a green economy. As the first cooperation between the TaiwanICDF and the CDF, this joint program represents a significant milestone in their relationship.

The TaiwanICDF views women’s economic empowerment as a vital means toward its larger goal of promoting gender equality. The TaiwanICDF, commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to implement the Assisting the Economic Empowerment of Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in the Post-Pandemic of COVID-19 Program, has empowered thousands of women by providing vocational training, business coaching and financing support since 2021. This program provided capacity-building opportunities for women, women entrepreneurs, and women MSMEs so that they could develop the knowledge and skills needed for success in the modern world. It included training on vocational skills, entrepreneurship strategies, MSME business operations, and bank loan practices. The CRAF-WomenSMEs Program expands on this success by combining the strengths of the TaiwanICDF and CDF to help women-owned and women-led SMEs in CDF’s twelve member states step onto the global 2050 Net Zero journey.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean have long depended on imported fossil fuels. Faced with soaring energy and transportation costs, local technology- and resource-limited SMEs struggle to adopt green policies or start low-carbon ventures. Women SMEs in particular find it difficult to raise capital for sustainable transformation. The CRAF-WomenSMEs Program addresses these constraints by providing credit guarantees to financial institutions extending green loans to women SMEs. At the same time, the CDF offers green technical assistance to maximize their chances of success. In other words, this program serves as a catalyst to help women SMEs pursue their feasible and bankable green projects.

Amb. Dr. Charles C. Li, Secretary General of the TaiwanICDF,  addressed the significance of this program at the signing ceremony, saying: The TaiwanICDF is delighted to cooperate with such a professional organization as the CDF, and to assist our friends with participating in the Net Zero by 2050 initiative. By supporting women SMEs through green credit guarantees, the TaiwanICDF and CDF can enable low-carbon business models and opportunities in the Caribbean.

Mr. Rodinald R. Soomer, CEO of CDF, also addressed at signing ceremony, saying: “This collaboration between the CDF and the TaiwanICDF is most opportune as we seek to fulfil our mandate of enhancing entrepreneurship and business competitiveness amongst Caribbean SMEs and more importantly women-owned/led businesses to thrive and grow to compete on the international stage.”

This program focuses on two important issues: climate change mitigation and women’s empowerment. It is particularly critical given the vulnerable status of Caribbean SIDS, and it demonstrates the TaiwanICDF’s commitment to the region. The TaiwanICDF will continue connecting with like-minded international partners to support a green transition in the Caribbean and to create a more resilient and inclusive society around the world.

  • Update: 2023/11/07
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