How did the economies of the Caribbean nations perform in 2019? That was the subject today at the Caribbean Development Bank's annual news conference.
Every year, the CDB invites journalists from all of the bank's borrowing member countries to its headquarters in Barbados. It's an opportunity for the Bank to discuss trends that they've noticed emerging over the last few months within the economies of the region. They often share what recommendations they would make to either improve on the gains, or turn things around financially for the struggling member state.
One of the important take-aways from today's news conference is that collectively, the region's economies only grew by 1% last year, which is less than the 1.6% growth in 2018.
With video provided by the CDB, here's what the President had to say about the factors that contributed to that performance:
Dr. William Warren Smith - President, Caribbean Development Bank
"Our borrowing members recorded another year of low growth, averaging just about 1% in 2019, compared with 1.6% in 2018. This slow-down was consistent with relatively sluggish global growth of 2.9%. The international economic environment continues to give mix signals, especially, concerning USA/China trade relations. Geopolitical anxieties in the Middle East presented major downside risks, whilst protests against corruption, inequality, climate change, and lack of political freedoms mounted. The slowdown also reflected the effects of prolonged drought in Belize, Haiti, and Jamaica, as well as social unrest in Haiti. Hurricane reconstruction efforts continued, bolstering economic growth in affected BMC's. Unsurprisingly, the fastest-growing economies were Anguilla and Dominica, at 10.9% and 5.7%, respectively. Tourism performance improved in nearly borrowing member countries, with visitor arrivals growing by double digits in St. and Nevis, and the Cayman Islands."
"Let me turn briefly to our prognosis for 2030 (2020?). We're projecting regional GDP growth of 4.1% consistent with expectations of accelerated global economic activity. With an estimated daily production of about 100 thousand barrels of oil, Guyana should dominate regional growth performance this year. Other growth drivers in the region should be the construction, tourism, and agriculture sector. But, economic growth will remain lopsided, and below the sustainable rates needed for long-term resilience. Borrowing members like Barbados, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis must stay on-course with their home-grown socio-economic reform programs. Others should join the bandwagon and commence, with alacrity, implementation of their own adjustment programs."