The two – day meeting, which is being held from September 03-04, is attended by Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Mr. Min Zhu, senior officials from the IMF, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, finance ministers, central bank governors, prime ministers, donors and representatives from several international financial institutions. While in St. Kitts, the attendees are expected to exchange perspectives on important economic matters facing the region.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris stressed that the forum is timely and vital.
“The series has become necessary because our region has been buffeted by high debt, high unemployment and fiscal imbalances,” said Prime Minister Harris, adding that the Caribbean region needs fresh thinking as to map how growth can take place at a sufficiently high level to meet the commitments of the State and the reasonable expectations of the people for a better life.
He further stated that with the assistance of the ECCB and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, member countries have started discussions on the inadequacy of economic performance and posited an eight point strategic plan to take the region forward.
Prime Minister Harris said that the IMF as a significant provider of policy advice, is working with its Caribbean counterparts to ensure that the region achieves a higher level of growth in a more consistent and sustainable manner above the norm.
Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Mr. Zhu said that the Caribbean Forum was important for “listening, for expanding our mutual understanding and for collaborating”.
“These essential ingredients are for advancing-together-solutions to the key challenge facing the region. Indeed, global macro risk have not gone away. his region faces, among other things, possible consequences from the impending rise in U.S. interest rates, the slow down in China and South America, the opening of Cuba to U.S. tourists as well as other competitive challenge,” he said.
“And of course, we have been cruelly reminded of the ever-present natural disaster risks facing the region following the loss of life and severe damage that Tropical Storm Erika caused to Dominica last week. I know that our staff has reached out to the Dominican authorities with assurances that we stand ready to provide emergency financial assistance if they should need it, but I want to personally reiterate here the Fund’s commitment to support the region in circumstances like these, ” Mr. Zhu added.