This stark reality was unfolded this week when the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Dwight Venner presented his economic review of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, which is a grouping of the islands the comprise the Leeward and Windward Islands, and who all share a common currency.
“Our member countries are still grappling with low economic growth, persistent fiscal deficits, rising debt levels, high unemployment and poverty rates and some fragility in the financial sector. Once again the structural characteristics of our countries, namely, small size, extreme openness and high vulnerability to external shocks and natural disasters have become more evident,” stated Venner.
Looking ahead, the governor opined that in order to climb out of this depressing existence, “We must have a vision of what we want and a systematic, pragmatic and adaptable strategy for achieving our goals.” He advocated that the goals must be clear and measurable with emphasis on an attainable and sustainable growth rate; A higher level of employment in quality jobs; Poverty reduction; and Maintenance and improvement of the Human Development Indices.
He added that it may be safe to say that never before has the Currency Union witnessed such a prolonged period of economic stagnation. In looking ahead there are three possible scenarios which confront the Currency Union and will weigh heavily on the decisions to be taken. They are:
1. The global economy remains in its relatively low growth, high unemployment mode, particularly in our main trading partners while the ECCU countries continue with their current policies;
2. Economic activity in the global economy does not return to its pre-crisis levels while the ECCU makes significant policy adjustments; and
3. The global economy goes through substantial restructuring and rebalancing and the ECCU undergoes significant socioeconomic transformation.
Venner stated that these scenarios imply major policy choices for the ECCU countries which have related outcomes. He said four possible outcomes can be identified from the economic history and contemporary experience of nation states since the process of decolonization following the Second World War. They are: Failed or failing states; Barebones survival; Moderate progress; and socioeconomic transformation.
“The obvious choice for us is of course, socioeconomic transformation, but this is a long term goal and requires resolute focus on a medium to long term strategy and the political commitment and social consensus to get there,” suggested the governor.
The full text of the governor’s review can be found in the Commentary section of MiyVue.com. To read more click this link: http://www.miyvue.com/index.php?option=com_content&;view=article&id=16045&catid=53&Itemid=59