Caribbean leaders: It’s the time to talk about ‘rehabilitation’
CARIBBEAN Regional News/ABC News – 3 August 2018 – The Caribbean is at a crossroads.
At a time when many people are struggling, the Caribbean is the only region in the world where there is no question of the crisis returning.
But there are a few signs that things are changing.
Here are five things to know about the recovery: First, the recovery is far from over.
Caribbean leaders say that they are not yet at a point where they can start talking about re-opening.
They say that the Caribbean economy is at its peak, and the region needs to build its resilience.
Second, the region is now the biggest economic contributor to the world economy, with about $10.5 trillion in goods and services, and $9.6 trillion in services.
Third, a new Caribbean bank, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), will begin its work next month.
It is part of a wider programme to bring finance, education, technology and other sectors of the economy to the region.
It will be the first Caribbean bank to operate in the US and its mission will be to assist the Caribbean and Latin America in the fight against poverty and poverty-related diseases.
And the Caribbean has one of the largest private-sector investment programs in the OECD.
The Caribbean Economic Forum, chaired by the Caribbean’s richest man, Carlos Slim, is expected to release its first report in September 2018.
And there is a lot of work to do.
In December 2018, the ODI announced that it had signed up 5,000 businesses, including hotels, retail, hotels and other businesses.
It also announced that there were 3,000 jobs for the next year.
But a lot more work needs to be done.
There is still much to be seen, says Ben Wood from the OECD’s development bank.
“We have seen a lot less activity in the region over the past two years, and it’s not going to get any better,” he says.
“But the pace of economic activity in other parts of the world is also going to improve.
The region needs more investment and investment now.”
The Caribbean economy has grown by almost 5% per annum over the last three years.
And that is driven by the booming private sector, which has helped boost incomes for many.
But the region still has many issues to overcome.
The poorest regions of the Caribbean lag behind in terms of the level of education, health, employment, infrastructure and access to credit.
The regions are also facing the threat of extreme weather.
That is also not helping.
“The Caribbean region is still vulnerable to extreme weather events, particularly extreme heat, which can have devastating effects on people’s lives,” says Wood.
And it is also one of many countries in the Caribbean where the economic growth rate has been significantly lower than the average in the past three years, says Wood, adding that the country has been hit hard by the economic crisis in many countries.
In 2017, the GDP in the Central Caribbean region was $1.7 trillion.
But in 2019, it was $4.7 billion.
That has been driven by growth of just 2.2% in the country of Trinidad and Tobago, and 3.6% in Barbados.
And in 2019 it was just $2.7 per person.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” says Wilfredo Bajares, a business consultant in the island of St Kitts and Nevis.
“There is a sense of despair.
I don’t think anyone is going to look at the Caribbean region the way they did the Caribbean before the crisis.”
A new bank in the United States is expected by the end of 2019.
And, like the Caribbean, the US is expected eventually to become a major contributor to regional economic growth.
But Wood says that the US needs to start thinking about how to support the Caribbean as a whole and not just the Caribbean.
“You can’t just turn your back on the Caribbean,” he said.
“They have a long way to go, but they have a very bright future ahead.”
More to come…