Caribbean finance ministers urge continued support for small highly vulnerable economies

“Of particular concern are the Caribbean countries in our constituency, which are small island states that are highly vulnerable to natural disasters and external macroeconomic shocks. This heterogeneous group of developing countries continues to struggle with the complexity of financing and implementing development solutions within the context of stagnant or contracting growth, declining competitiveness and unsustainable fiscal and debt positions,” said the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance for Canada, who spoke on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines

He noted that over the past five years, a number of these countries have embarked on fiscal consolidation and structural transformation programmes aimed at rebalancing their economies and creating the conditions for growth.

“However, to be truly effective, these efforts must also be accompanied by programmes that allow the private sector to expand and emerge as the primary driver of growth. In this regard, we continue to encourage the World Bank’s work, through the Caribbean Growth Forum, that seeks to assist these countries to develop and ultimately implement pro-growth strategies,” said the Canadian official. 

Mr. Flaherty noted that at the end of last month, the United Nations took stock of the current state of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the Special Event of the General Assembly.

The outcome document, co-facilitated by Ireland, expresses the strong commitment of the international community to achieve the MDGs by 2015 and underlines the need to accelerate progress between now and then, targeting in particular those MDGs where results are further behind. The new World Bank Group strategy will have to play a key role in supporting these efforts as well as the design of the post-2015 development framework.

“Some of the World Bank’s existing borrowers are moving towards graduation, and there is scope for being more selective and targeted in delivering financial, technical and knowledge-based development solutions to clients. The World Bank Group will need to find ways to be innovative and catalytic in defining its evolving role. The drive to become a “Solutions World Bank Group” represents an opportunity to do this. This will enable the World Bank Group to enhance its support to client countries through customized development solutions by packaging finance and knowledge together with its services, and further developing this through effective evaluation of results,” said Minister Flaherty, who “strongly support proposals to realign the World Bank’s financial model to strengthen financial sustainability and expand its financial capacity.”

“We look forward to further defining the underlying principles in the coming months, including a discussion at the Spring Meetings around specific measures to grow revenues, optimize the leveraging of available capital, and reduce costs,” he said.

Press release from Erasmus Williams (CUOPM)

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