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June 12, 2020

World Bank backs Dominica airport

The World Bank will provide the Commonwealth of Dominica with a concessional loan worth US$13 million.

Its purpose is to improve the overall regional air connectivity and upgrade the airport infrastructure to safely accommodate for diverted flights and other emergencies. The island has been planning on building its first international airport, putting millions aside every month for this from its reputable Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme.

Dominica is one of the four countries benefiting from the World Bank’s first financing of Caribbean airport projects, along with GrenadaSt Lucia and Haiti. Sourced from the International Development Association, the support for Dominica has generous terms such as a 40-year maturity date and a 10-year grace period.

“In Dominica, the project aims to improve safety and airport resilience readiness to natural disasters, and to strengthen the capacity of agencies handling air transportation operations and airport investment planning,” cites a World Bank press release issued on May 28th. “Navigation and safety equipment will be improved, enabling emergency landing in case of natural disasters and increasing capacity in air traffic control, wildlife management, airport management and planning,” the source specifies.

The World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean, Ms Tahseen Sayed, says that these financing projects would also support the islands during the post-pandemic recovery stage. Moreover, Ms Sayed believes that this enhances “the overall resilience of key connection points in the Eastern Caribbean.” The institution further explains that the projects “will enable countries to better accommodate diverted flights, emergency landings, and post-disaster relief flights, and improve regional capacity and collaboration in the sector.”

Douglas-Charles Airport, Dominica
Douglas-Charles Airport, Dominica

Dominica takes a different approach to tourism compared to most of its neighbours. Commonly known as the Nature Isle of the Caribbean, the country is emerging as a rare ecotourism paradise. Focusing on the quality of the visitors rather than the quantity, Dominica takes sustainability, climate resilience and nature immersion to a new level. Nature lovers with a globally-minded entrepreneurial spirit have the option to permanently live, work and study in Dominica by becoming ‘economic citizens’. This is possible through the Citizenship by Investment Programme, whereby a thoroughly vetted applicant can obtain second citizenship by either contributing US$100,000 to the government’s Economic Diversification Fund or investing at least US$200,000 in luxury resorts on Dominica.

To date, Dominica stands as the best country for citizenship by investment, according to the prestigious CBI Index, published annually by the Financial Times’ PWM magazine. Importantly, it uses the CBI funds to modernise the country’s infrastructure, develop breathtaking eco-conscious hotels, build a geothermal plant and 5,000 hurricane-proof homes, save up for an international airport, improve healthcare, and other projects. Ultimately, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wants Dominica to become ‘the world’s first climate-resilient nation’.

A model for building climate resilience, Dominica strongly believes in the idea of a ‘global community’, which is also what guides its CBI Programme.