Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Restoring growth in the Caribbean

THE 2013 High Level Caribbean Forum “Building Growth into the Caribbean Sustainability Agenda,” recently stressed the importance of private sector led activity, furthering economic integration and continued efforts in structural reforms to kick-start growth in the region.

Hosted by the Government of the Bahamas, the conference was convened by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank.

“The theme of this year’s conference is a direct response to feedback at the 2012 Forum where policymakers underscored the need for renewed growth as the necessary anchor to a viable future and to fiscal sustainability,” noted Alejandro Werner, Director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the IMF.

The Forum also responded to the request of Caribbean authorities for international financial institutions (IFIs) and other development partners to collaborate and ensure consistent policy advice so as to forge a coherent, holistic approach to reviving growth.

An IMF release stated that the conference concluded that the Caribbean has inherent strengths and comparative advantages in key sectors that have not been fully exploited, and that hold considerable potential as sources of economic growth in the near term.

It also stated that Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) can play a role in raising much needed investment and funding of infrastructure projects.

“While the political will exist, the region will need more information on cost and benefits of PPPs, in some cases reforms to the legal frameworks, and greater effort to build consensus among key stakeholders and the public. The end goal should be to achieve the best risk sharing between public sector balance sheets and the private sector,” it was further explained.

In addition, it was noted that a key element in the path forward is to strengthen integration to help share and lower fixed costs, and to increase trade integration. Also, that many of the challenges facing Caribbean countries are better suited to regional solutions, such as customs and VAT reforms, regulations for PPPs, information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, and aviation policies.

The Forum, a follow-up to the 2012 conference in Trinidad and Tobago on rethinking policy priorities, brought together policymakers, and officials from Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and officials from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. (TL)

No comments:

Post a Comment