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Issues and Prospects for the Caribbean Region. Kelvin Dalrymple Chief Country Economist Caribbean Development Bank October 20, 2005. Outline of Presentation. The region and its development bank Major sectors in the region Major development issues Recent global developments

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issues and prospects for the caribbean region

Issues and Prospects for the Caribbean Region

Kelvin Dalrymple

Chief Country Economist

Caribbean Development Bank

October 20, 2005

outline of presentation
Outline of Presentation
  • The region and its development bank
  • Major sectors in the region
  • Major development issues
  • Recent global developments
  • Recent regional developments
  • Prospects for the region
seventeen borrowing member countries twelve independent countries
Antigua & Barbuda

The Bahamas







St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Lucia

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Trinidad & Tobago

Seventeen Borrowing Member Countries(twelve independent countries)
seventeen borrowing member countries five overseas dependent territories of uk

British Virgin Islands

Cayman Islands


Turks and Caicos

Seventeen Borrowing Member Countries(five overseas dependent territories of UK)
major sectors in the region
Major Sectors in the Region
  • Tourism
    • Long-stay and cruise
  • Construction
  • Agriculture
    • Domestic and export
  • Financial Services
    • Domestic and Offshore
  • Energy
    • Natural Gas
    • Petroleum
    • Renewable sources, including solar and wind
major development issues
Major Development Issues
  • Poverty
  • Fiscal & Debt sustainability
  • Real output concentration and increasing productive capacity
  • Vulnerability
    • Economic
    • Social
    • Natural Hazard
  • Poverty is still high in the region
  • Though many middle income countries poverty since exists at unacceptable levels
  • Per capita income measurement using GDP is inadequate
  • In small islands, population coupled with relatively high income, gives rise to high per capita income
  • The high incomes mask some of the real social problems
  • Vulnerability measures come closer to reality
fiscal and debt sustainability
Fiscal and Debt Sustainability
  • Emerging as an issue of critical importance, with potential to stymie social and economic development
  • External and domestic factors have influenced this outcome
    • Unfavourable terms of trade and erosion of preferences.
    • Natural hazards, particularly within the OECS.
    • Countercyclical fiscal policy, particularly in the post 2000 period.
    • An increase in commercial borrowings
  • Consequently revenue growth has lagged expenditures, resulting in rising deficits, higher levels of indebtedness and more onerous debt service payments
fiscal and debt sustainability cont d
Fiscal and Debt Sustainability (cont’d)
  • Both revenue and expenditure reforms required
  • On revenue side, most countries engaging in revenue reform are opting for VAT
  • On expenditure side there is a tendency to make the adjustment to capital expenditures
  • Greater emphasis needs to be placed on reviewing the role of the state, particularly as it relates to recurrent expenditure
  • Greater emphasis on focussing and prioritising of the PSIP
productive capacity
Productive Capacity
  • Maintaining balanced real rates of growth essential to protect past gains and secure further development
  • High degree of economic concentration, either in tourism or agriculture
  • Noticeable decline in rates of growth since 80s owing to changing trade regime, natural disasters, economic shocks (global slowdown, oil prices, source market disturbances)
productive capacity cont d
Productive Capacity (cont’d)
  • Most economies based on tourism which contributes to as much as 60% of GDP
    • Within tourism, there is a high concentration in one or two source markets, namely the US and UK.
    • Sector is vibrant, with new entrants appearing and old participants renewing products.
    • Cruise tourism gaining in importance.
  • International business sector contributing significantly to high standard of living but being challenged by more developed economies
  • Few countries have the scale and resources to be competitive in agriculture and manufacturing
productive capacity cont d1
Productive Capacity (cont’d)
  • Services remain best hope for Region.
  • Need not be limited to holiday travel but can also capitalise on provision of health and education services.
  • Countries have been trying to improve productive capacity .
    • Tourism product development since some economies are considered to be mature destinations.
    • Improvements in the regulatory and legislative framework may be beneficial to international business sector over medium to long term.
    • Emphasis on lowering unit costs to try to realise productivity gains.
    • Ensuring that tourist/investors receive value for money.
  • Economic
    • 15 BMCs in the top third of the world’s most vulnerable countries (Crowards 1999)
    • Small domestic market and high degree of openness.
    • Limited Diversification
    • Inability to take advantage of economies of scale.
    • Inability to influence prices.
    • Most economies based on tourism which contributes to as much as 60% of GDP.
    • High dependence on trade taxes
    • Limited institutional capacity
  • Social
    • Encompasses not only the poor, but those on the margin.
    • Social exclusion
  • Natural Hazards
    • Region is extremely vulnerable to natural hazards as highlighted in 2004. However, pattern of destruction has been well documented over the years
natural hazard management cont d
Natural Hazard Management (cont’d)
  • Greater emphasis needed on natural hazard management
  • At the broader level, this will require greater focus on
    • Institutional preparedness
    • Mitigation, to ensure that buildings and other infrastructure are adequately protected
    • Post-disaster response to rebuild social and economic infrastructure to allow for rapid return to economic activity
recent global environment
Recent Global Environment
  • Over the past two years, global growth has accelerated and become more broad-based.
  • Higher private consumption and business investment were principal drivers of growth.
  • Inflationary pressures have been increasing owing to rising demand and higher oil prices.
  • Consequently, monetary stimuli are being gradually removed.
  • The rise in demand has, however, exacerbated current account imbalances particularly in the US.
  • Public finances remained a concern with rising deficits notably in the US and Eurozone.
recent regional developments
Recent Regional Developments
  • Region generally performed well in 2004, notwithstanding the spate of natural disasters such as hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.
  • Total losses from the 2004 hurricane season estimated at more than US4.5 bn
  • Most economies were able to take advantage of rising global demand.
    • As a result, tourism was the main driver of growth.
    • Supported by construction, which was largely tourism-based, and to a lesser extent, financial services, agriculture and manufacturing.
recent regional developments cont d
Recent Regional Developments Cont’d
  • Available information for 2005 points to positive but slightly slower rates of growth in tandem with the moderate slowdown in the global economy.
    • Tourism and construction (particularly hotel-related) still continue to drive many economies.
    • The outturn for agriculture appears to have decreased mainly due to adverse weather conditions.
  • Inflationary pressures have increased in the past two years, with more governments being forced to pass on increases to the consumer.
  • Monetary stimuli are being removed gradually to curb domestic demand, and also to narrow the differential between US and domestic rates.
prospects for the region
Prospects for the Region
  • The outlook for the Region over the medium term is favourable.
  • Positive trends in tourism expected to continue over the medium term, particularly with Cricket World Cup in 2007
  • Financial services have largely stabilised, and further growth is expected
prospects for the region cont d
Prospects for the Region (cont’d)
  • The CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) provides opportunities to reap benefits from economies of scale in all areas
  • Untapped potential in the region in provision of goods and services
  • Main downside risks stem from adverse developments in the global economy and natural disasters
  • Sound development policies, particularly with respect to public finances are critical at this juncture
growth is expected to continue
Growth is expected to continue…
  • Continuation of the trend in construction activity, with further growth projected in 2005, as both public and private sector investment activity continues
    • Rebuilding countries ravaged by Hurricanes Charley, Ivan, Jeanne of 2004
  • Construction in anticipation of the 2007 Cricket World Cup – public sector (roads and other infrastructure), commercial (hotels, stadia and other amenities) as well as private (upgrades to private dwellings)
  • Tourism, finance and energy sectors will expand while agriculture will be uneven in growth
however there are downside risks
…however there are downside risks
  • The main downside risks to regional growth are from a slowdown in the international economy
    • Escalating geopolitical tensions e.g. war on terror
    • Deterioration in macroeconomic fundamentals
  • Rising oil prices
    • Rising price of oil which increases the cost of living in major oil consuming countries as well as increases international travel and transportation
    • Rising oil prices could slow growth in the Region, and increase the cost of production and reducing the competitiveness of regional goods and services
  • Rising debt levels of the Region’s economies – can be reduced by increasing the growth levels
prospects for caricom single market and economy csme
Prospects for CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)
  • The acceleration of regional integration, through the CSME, presents opportunities for the Region over the medium-term
  • Efficiency and productivity gains through the more effective sourcing and utilisation of inputs
  • Competition in already established markets, need to carve out niches in an increasingly competitive environment
natural hazard vulnerability
Natural Hazard Vulnerability
  • The threat of natural disasters also cannot be overlooked, in light of the damage and destruction caused by hurricanes and earthquakes in 2004
  • Must prepare because the ability of a single event, in a few hours, can to eliminate decades of growth and development
  • This can be well managed and investment can be secured by being proactive
the unfinished agenda
The unfinished agenda…
  • Environmental sustainability
    • Growth sectorally in tourism, agriculture will be enhanced by a sound policy on the environment
    • Enhanced livelihood opportunity for residents that reduce poverty
  • Standards
    • High building standards
    • High service quality
  • Productivity and competitiveness
    • Keys issues affecting the use of labour and the future viability of key sectors
  • Niche marketing
    • Search for the few areas where there is a competitive and comparative advantage and exploit them
  • Trade Liberalisation
    • Negotiations ongoing in three theatres - WTO, EU, FTAA
the region is good for investment
The Region is good for investment…
  • On balance, things are headed in the right direction
  • The world economy is expanding
  • Growth in investment will not be even
  • Areas of focus will vary from island/ country
  • New sectors are emerging which require financing
  • Risks can and must be managed
  • The Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 is a great opportunity.
  • Legacy benefits from CWC 2007 are also expected to be very good
the message is
The message is …
  • The outlook for the Region is still positive
  • The global recovery is expected to continue, although at a slightly slower pace
  • The Region continues to have significant levels of underutilised resources: natural, financial, labour and entrepreneurial
  • The Region needs to
    • find ways of bringing these resources together
    • to identify greater market opportunities
    • to engage in sustainable production for the global market
for more information please contact cdb e mail dalrymk@caribank org website www caribank org

For more information, please contact CDB e-mail:dalrymk@caribank.orgwebsite:

Thank you for your attention!