CDB projects 1.7 percent growth for region

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017. 3:54 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), at a press event last Friday, projected a 1.7 percent economic growth among its borrowing member countries (BMC) for 2017 in contrast to the negative 0.9 percent performance in 2016.

The CDB’s Director of Economics, Dr. Justin Ram said that service-oriented economies recorded positive growth in 2016, while the predominant commodity exporters, except Guyana contracted.

“Belize recorded a modest decline, while significant contractions were recorded in  rinidad and Tobago where that economy declined by five per cent, and Suriname which declined by a further nine percent,” Ram said.

Ram then noted that this year’s projected growth is expected to be largely driven by the tourism industry and tourism related construction. He added that though the projection is better than last year’s performance, the figure is still below where it needs to be to stimulate employment and reduce the persistently high debt levels. Ram noted that foreign currency reserves fell below the benchmark levels in some BMCs in 2016.

CDB President, Dr. Warren Smith, called for a reversal of the pattern of decline in the region’s economies, saying the BMCs needed to be placed firmly on a path of sustained and inclusive income growth with discernible improvements in living standards.

Smith said that unlike more diversified small states such as Mauritius and Singapore which have weathered recent global shocks well, Caribbean economies continue to exhibit the volatility that has kept average growth rates low; unemployment and poverty high; and living standards stagnant.

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