WARSAW, Poland, Oct. 16, 2020 /CNW/ — Infrastructure investment is a key priority for Countries in Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe (CESEE) to accelerate the convergence of the living standards toward the level of the more advance European countries, the EU15 – says the IMF report published on 28th Sep 2020. IMF highlights the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund (3SIIF) as an initiative with the “aim to address infrastructure needs in CESEE.”
The report estimates that closing 50% of the infrastructure gap until 2030 would require an annual investment of 3-8% of GDP. Attracting private investors should be an important step towards achieving this ambitious challenge.
To engage investors, the state development bank of Poland, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), took the initiative to establish the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund (3SIIF). In the report, the IMF mentions the Three Seas Fund as one of “the several initiatives aim to address infrastructure needs in CESEE”.
“The Three Seas Fund is the economic dimension of the Three Seas Initiative. The Fund is the most important financial undertaking in Central and Eastern Europe. We set a clear goal for the Fund – financial support for infrastructure investments in the region. Such support is especially important these days as economies struggle with the effects of the COVID pandemic. The initiator and co-founder of the Fund is the Polish development bank BGK. We established the Fund together with our partners from the Romanian development bank EximBank” – says Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, the 3SIIF Supervisory Board Chairperson and BGK President.
The Three Seas Fund’s main objective is to invest in transport, energy and digital infrastructure on the north-south axis in the Three Seas countries and to offset the regional development differences in the European Union. The Fund is a commercial and market-driven initiative that will grant a diversified investment and an attractive return.
The IMF team also state that, if done right, infrastructure investment could yield significant dividends in the region. More and better public investment can help repair the economic damage of the pandemic, raise potential output, and speed income convergence with the EU15.
“At this time of economic slowdown, its benefits could be even larger. We estimate that for each percent of GDP spent on infrastructure, the output could rise by 0,5-0,75% in the short run and by 2-2,5% in the long run” – the report reads.
BC Liberal candidate Jackie Tegart has announced that $2 million from the Liberals’ Rebuild B.C. plan has been earmarked for the development of the McAbee Fossil Beds as a tourist destination.
The McAbee Beds are located east of Cache Creek on the Trans-Canada Highway, and are internationally recognized as the most diverse site known in British Columbia for plants and insects of the Eocene Epoch from 50 million years ago.
In 2012 the beds were declared a heritage site by the provincial government and closed to the public. In 2017 a working group of volunteers secured funding to develop a business plan for the site, which set out a phased approach to develop a world-class interpretive and research centre at the globally significant site, which could attract up to 50,000 visitors each year.
The McAbee Beds were recognized with a “Stop of Interest” sign and reopened to the public in the summer of 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic halted plans to open the site again in 2020, but work on a trail system for visitors began in September, with the hope of welcoming visitors again in 2021.
The BC Liberals recently announced their $8 billion Rebuild B.C. plan, which includes increased funding to accelerate infrastructure projects to meet the needs of the province’s growing population, create jobs, and improve long-term productivity. The McAbee site has been recognized for the enormous potential it has as a centre for education, research, and tourism, and the Liberals say that investment in it would put people to work immediately as the site is developed, and for years to come as the centre becomes operational.
“This site is of interest to researchers, students, and visitors,” says Tegart. “Investing in developing McAbee as a tourist destination will create jobs and allow more British Columbians to safely visit and spend time in our community.”
Over the next year, 20 new schools will be built across Ontario and eight existing schools will see state-of-the-art permanent additions.
That’s according to the provincial government, who are investing $550-million in the project, which is expected to add nearly 16,000 new learning spaces and 870 new licensed child care spaces over the 2020-2021 school year.
“Our government is doing everything possible to ensure our students can achieve lifelong success,” said Premier Doug Ford. “That’s why we made a significant commitment to fix our schools and ensure students and staff have access to the best classrooms, with features like modern ventilation systems and high-speed Internet access. During construction, these projects will create hundreds of jobs and contribute significantly to our economic recovery.”
Some schools will also be getting upgrades to enhance their facilities and add more student spaces.
“This government firmly believes that all children deserve to learn in state-of-the-art, modern, technologically connected and accessible schools,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “We will continue to take action to ensure students are safe today and well into the future by approving more new school buildings and permanent additions, and increasing access to child care for working parents.”
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Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and US announced on Tuesday the establishment of a development fund during the first-ever visit of an Emirati delegation to Tel Aviv.
The Abraham Fund, derived from the Abraham Accords, the official name of the normalization deal between Israel and the UAE, will be launched with an initial investment of $3 billion, said US International Development Finance Corporation CEO Adam Boehler.
He said the Jerusalem-based fund aims to promote economic cooperation and prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa.
In a statement, the US Embassy in Israel said the fund is “a manifestation of the new spirit of friendship and cooperation between the three countries, as well as their common will to advance the region”.
On Sept. 15, the UAE and Bahrain agreed to establish full diplomatic, cultural and commercial relations with Israel after signing controversial agreements at the White House.
The deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.
* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
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