Japan has given the ST. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) approximately US$2 million under Tokyo’s “Non-Project Grant Aid for Provision of SMEs Products”.
Japan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Yasuhide Nakayama and his Vincentian counterpart, Sen. Camillo Gonsalves, signed the agreement in St. Lucia recently.
The grant will be used for procurement of unique, efficient and user-friendly technologies of Japan SMEs.
The products available under the grant are intended to meet the developmental goals of SVG in several sectors such as the environment, health and agriculture to respond to economic and social needs and other critical issues that affect small island developing states.
“The way the programme works, essentially, is that we sign an agreement, Japan is giving us two million dollars, the two million dollars is for the purchase of Japanese products that we will use in St Vincent and the Grenadine for various national development projects,” Gonsalves told the media.
“So, if we wanted to, for example, build a computer lab, out of this project, we will use the money but we will buy Japanese computer, Japanese equipment, we purchase it in Japan, it will be shipped here to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and we would build the project in that way.
“It is not that they are writing us a cheque. The deal is that we will use the money to purchase Japanese products from Japanese enterprises and use them in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
Gonsalves said the government is trying to programme the money for a number of small projects of about US$100, 000 each to maximize the scope and reach.
Some schools have applied to improve their computer labs and library, some state enterprises have applied for technological upgrades, and there have been applications for recreational facilities,” he said.
“And those various applications are being evaluated and we are very grateful to the government and people of Japan for this initial two million dollar grant and they have informed us this is a grant that can be renewed in years to come,” Gonsalves told the media.