Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is the leading tourism destination in the Caribbean and is experiencing strong growth. Yet there are persistent inequalities and poverty. AFD, a partner of the country, is laying the groundwork for a responsible economy that benefits all and respects the environment.
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citizens, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, buildings
AFD and the Dominican Republic: promoting an environmentally friendly social economy
citizens, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, buildings

Improving access to healthcare and education

Dominican Republic, Cedimat, health care center

Improving access to healthcare and education

Inequalities persist, despite the improvement in living conditions for Dominicans in recent years: 41% of inhabitants live below the poverty line and only have limited access to healthcare and education.

AFD’s support has two objectives:

  • Increase access to more modern hospital services. We focus on hospitals that implement public policies to facilitate access to their services for people without resources. For example, we have financed the construction and equipment of the cardiology unit of Metropolitano de Santiago Hospital and CEDIMAT’s new cardiovascular center. The overarching aim is to provide free access for patients without incomes or social protection.
  • Promote higher education. We have financed the modernization of Pontifica Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra University (PUCMM) and supported the upgrading of training provision via the specialization of lecturers and the internationalization of courses through academic exchanges.

To facilitate access to higher education, we have also worked with the financial institutions FONDESA and FUNDAPEC. The result: loans for students without resources but with good school results.

In addition, to diversify the choice of studies, we are financing the construction of the future Hotel and Catering Center of Instituto Nacional de Formación Técnico Profesional in the East region, with support from the Avignon Hotel School.

Supporting the private sector and SMEs

Dominican Republic, microcredit, car workshop

Supporting the private sector and SMEs

SMEs create jobs and clearly have a social impact. It is for this reason that AFD supports them and works with a number of partner banks (in particular Banco Popular Dominicano, Banco BHD León and BanReservas) to finance the investment projects of exporting companies in sectors with the highest potential: infrastructure, agribusiness and services. These projects have major economic, social and environmental impacts.

Banking for all

Microcredit is equally essential for microenterprises which need to make investments. With Banco Ademi and BanFondesa, we are strengthening the microfinance sector, our main vehicle for boosting economic development and reducing poverty.

We also work to improve access to financial services. Indeed, a large number of Dominicans do not have a bank account, meaning that the savings capacity is relatively low, demand for consumer loans is high, and the conventional range of bank services is inappropriate.

Preserving natural resources

Dominican Republic, reforestation, Galbrun

Preserving natural resources

Deforestation and wastewater treatment are two major environmental challenges in the Dominican Republic.

Protecting La Sierra

To address the challenge of deforestation, since 2000, AFD has been financing Plan Sierra, the reforestation and rural development plan for the Cordillera Central in the Cibao region. There are a whole host of benefits: soil protection, creation of a local timber industry, development of environmentally friendly agricultural practices and creation of income-generating activities (glasshouse crops, silvopastoral agriculture, ecotourism, etc.). A flagship project which combines environmental preservation and economic development.

More effectively treating, managing and distributing water

At the same time, in several provinces in the country, we are supporting a large number of water treatment and infrastructure rehabilitation programs. They are being implemented by our two partners: Instituto Nacional de Aguas Potables y Alcantarillados (INAPA) and Corporación del Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Santiago (CORAASAN).

Rethinking the city

Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, Barquita, Petit

Rethinking the city

The capital Santo Domingo illustrates the country’s challenges in terms of urban development. Indeed, the number of residents is increasing rapidly, and with them, the need for effective public services: waste treatment, access to drinking water, social housing, upgrading of public transport, etc.

Another challenge for the capital: the banks of the Ozama River are hit particularly hard by increasingly frequent extreme climate events, such as floods. The 300,000 residents of these poor neighborhoods (Ozama, Isabela and Haina) consequently live in very precarious conditions.

With AFD’s support, in 2012, the city’s authorities launched an extensive territorial development and urban mobility program with four objectives:

  • Rehouse the residents of La Barquita, a regularly flooded area, in a new neighborhood with high-quality public facilities: La Nueva Barquita;
  • Introduce a river transport system (Acuabús) to improve access to precarious neighborhoods and an urban cable car system connected to the metro;
  • Extend Line 2 of the metro towards the east;
  • Redevelop La Barquita into a riverside park. The mobilization of our Study and Capacity Building Fund (FERC) has also financed planning studies, as well as the organization of seminars and training. 
residents of La Barquita neighborhood rehoused in better conditions
people take Line 2 of the Santo Domingo metro every day
hectares have been reforested in La Sierra

The Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean Sea and occupies almost two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with Haiti. With over 10 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous country in the Caribbean. 

It is the leading tourism destination in the region and has an annual growth rate of 5%, i.e. one of the best performances in Latin America. This growth rewards an economic strategy focused on tourism, the pillar of the national economy, agricultural production (sugar, coffee, tobacco and cocoa) and mining exports. The island also benefits from remittances from its diaspora, which account for some 7% of GDP.

However, the foundations remain fragile: the Dominican Republic is still highly dependent on the international economic environment, mainly in the USA, infrastructure is insufficient and there are persistent inequalities, with 41% of the population living below the poverty line.

In addition, the country’s biodiversity is threatened by the excessive exploitation of natural resources.

AFD has been a partner of the country since 1997 for programs with strong social and environmental impacts and extensive sustainable infrastructure projects. It operates via long-term loans to the Dominican State, grants, technical assistance missions, financing for the private sector and bank guarantees (ARIZ) to facilitate access to credit for SMEs.

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