The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has signed a development loan agreement worth $10 million with the Bahamas.
The agreement was signed by Mr. Sultan Al-Marshad, CEO of SFD and Hon. Isacc Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation.
Inked at SFD headquarters in Riyadh, the agreement will include the construction of business incubation centers across three islands in the Bahamas to support the growth of the tourism sector, and it signifies SFD’s commitment to promoting sustainable economic development in developing countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) around the world.
The signing marks SFD’s first presence in the Bahamas, making it the 89th country to receive funding for a development project from SFD.
The loan will facilitate the establishment of dedicated business incubation centers to support the development of new business projects. Specifically, these will accommodate 50 small businesses on Nassau Island, 25 on Exuma Island, and 25 on Grand Bahama Island.
The centers being built will include onsite experiential tours, offsite excursions, retailers, and local food and beverage outlets, thereby nurturing entrepreneurship and stimulating economic growth in the Bahamas and the wider region.
The project is poised to enhance the tourism sector in the Bahamas, creating direct and indirect job opportunities, and contribute towards realizing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and SDG 9, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.
“SFD is committed to promoting sustainable socio-economic development in developing nations and Small Island Developing States, while supporting the journey to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This project promises to nurture entrepreneurship in the Bahamas and stimulate economic growth through the provision of new business and job opportunities in the tourism sector. The agreement further solidifies our commitment to achieving a shared, prosperous, and sustainable future for developing countries worldwide.”
Mr. Cooper said that “This agreement marks a significant step in our nation’s journey towards sustainable growth, with the support of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development. The upcoming business incubation centers will act as catalysts for our aspiring entrepreneurs and help to accelerate job creation and enhance our tourism sector. This partnership reflects a shared vision of prosperity and development.”
This agreement marks a significant milestone, underscoring SFD’s commitment to supporting sustainable development in the Bahamas. It also represents a significant expansion of SFD’s work in the Caribbean region and reaffirms the importance of international cooperation and solidarity to achieve the SDGs and foster economic and social growth, particularly, in SIDS.