Positive economic growth expected for Caribbean in 2018, but resilience-building measures needed


The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is projecting regional economic growth of 2% in 2018. This follows a return to positive figures last year, during which the Region experienced overall growth of 0.6%–despite the devastation caused by the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Director of Economics at CDB, Dr. Justin Ram, says that all of CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) are expected to contribute to the positive movement.

Dr. Ram was speaking during CDB’s Annual News Conference on February 7, 2018. He noted, however, that although a return to growth is encouraging, the Caribbean still lags behind other small developing states. In the Region, growth has averaged 0.8% since 2009, compared to an average of 4.8% in other country groups.

The Director of Economics said that in order for Caribbean countries to ensure sustainable, inclusive growth and development, measures to improve resilience are needed. During his presentation to media, Dr. Ram recommended a framework that could help countries build resilience. It is built on four pillars: macroeconomic resilience; productivity and competitiveness; human development; and environmental resilience.

With respect to specific policy actions, Dr. Ram noted that at the macroeconomic level, fiscal rules that encourage governments to save should be implemented; and debt-to-GDP limits should be introduced. The Director also recommended that countries adopt reforms that make it easier to do business, thus setting the environment for private-sector-led growth. Resilience at the environmental level will mean stricter compliance with stricter building codes, and the development of indemnity insurance markets, he said.

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