Dominica on Track to Reach United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals with Help from Citizenship by Investment Programme
The Commonwealth of Dominica, an island of 72,000 in the East Caribbean region, is well on track to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda set by the United Nations in 2015. At the core of the agenda are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that call all countries to take action for a more developed and equal world. Dominica’s government has prioritised the SDGs for several years and recognised that ending poverty must go together with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth while tackling climate change and preserving oceans and forests. The country’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme has been a crucial element in funding many of the projects that make reaching the targets possible.
Some of the major contributions of the CBI Programme to the SDGs include (1) No poverty, (3) Good health and well-being, (4) Quality education, (6) Clean water and sanitation, (7) Affordable and clean energy, (8) Decent work and economic growth, (9) Industry, innovation and infrastructure, (11) Sustainable cities and communities, (12) Responsible consumption and production, (13) Climate action, (16) Peace, justice and strong institutions and (17) Partnerships for the goals. A 2019 PricewaterhouseCoopers report highlighted these CBI contributions towards the targets:
In line with SDG goals (1) & (8), CBI impact on Dominica’s economy is estimated to increase GDP by around EC$150 million and tax receipts by around EC$30 million in the upcoming years. Additionally, CBI expenditure is forecasted to have had a significant long-term impact on the economic potential of the island;
(3) three hospitals and six health centres were repaired after Hurricane Maria in 2017 with CBI funds, and 16 Dominican children were sent overseas for complex medical treatment;
(4) fifteen schools were repaired through CBI;
(6) CBI funded an investment of over EC$175 million in water sources over the period 2015- 2019. CBIP funds have also been used to dredge rivers in 11 different locations, an essential part of mitigating the risks of future flooding;
(7), (11) & (12) EC$6 million allocated to the construction of a 7MW geothermal power plant in keeping with the Government’s vision to become the first climate-resilient country in the world. This plant is projected to make Dominica self-reliant on energy;
(8) CBI’s contribution to the National Employment Programme funded 3,896 intern placements across the public and private sector over the 2013-2019 period. CBI’s funding of hotels and eco-lodges created over 1,000 jobs during construction, providing direct employment for approximately 900 hospitality workers, and supporting the livelihoods of those connected with tourism;
(9) CBI funding has resulted in the rehabilitation of 15 sections of damaged roads and 19 bridges. CBI also supported the construction of hurricane-resilient homes for 6,680 households;
(11) & (13) most new infrastructure carried about by CBI follows a ‘build back better’ strategy to ensure durability against extreme natural disasters;
(16) all the investments through the CBI Programme go through rigorous multi-tiered due diligence;
(17) CBI projects like the Marigot Hospital have encouraged more international partnerships with countries like China.
Regarding the country’s sustainable development, Dominica’s Prime Minister, Dr the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, said, “We’ve decided to focus on building a resilient nation [and] we’ve been using a significant portion of our CBI proceeds to help us build that resilient nation.”
“[The environment] is really all we have as a world to ensure the sustainability of our people, [the] livelihoods of our jobs and our own very survival…. It’s [a] hand-in-glove arrangement with regards to our efforts to build in a resilient nation and sustainable development,” he added.
Dominica has been offering its Citizenship by Investment Programme since 1993, making it one of the oldest citizenship programmes around. Investors may qualify for citizenship through a contribution to the government fund or investment in real estate. After a vetting process, successful applicants receive full rights to live and work in the country and visa-free access to 75 percent of the globe.
Published: 14 January 2021