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IDB, Caribbean leaders discuss how to achieve resilient growth after the crisis

NASSAU, Bahamas – The Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) President Compton Bourne opened today a forum that brings together the Governors of the IDB from Caribbean member countries with other government officials, policymakers, members of academia and businessmen.

Present were also the following dignitaries: Zhivargo Laing, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance of The Bahamas; Senator Darcy Boyce, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance of Barbados; Ronald Baudin, Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry of Haiti; Patrick Watson, Government Senator of Trinidad and Tobago; and Jennifer Webster Minister in the Ministry of Finance of Guyana.

President Moreno hailed the efforts made by regional governments to overcome the impact of the global crisis. “This has been a very challenging period for our hemisphere as a whole and for the Caribbean in particular and the IDB stepped up its support to alleviate these pressures,” said Moreno.

“We gather once a year to discuss the economic outlook, the IDB’s plans, and most importantly, to understand our member countries’ priorities and learn what they expect from the Bank in the coming year,” said Moreno. The previous forum was held in Haiti last year.

IDB Caribbean member countries include Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The Bank also partners with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to support regional integration and provides financing for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank

The Caribbean and the Global Context

Participants in the IDB high level forum in The Bahamas are expected to analyze the global economic context and ways for the Caribbean to achieve a resilient growth after the crisis. The IDB’s Board of Governors is composed of top economic officials from member countries, and is the Bank’s maximum authority.

Other distinguished participants include Hilary Beckles, Principal of the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill Campus; and Derick Boyd, Executive Director of the Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance.

The topics to be discussed include:

Patterns of World Growth and the Caribbean

The likely pattern of world growth and its impact on the Caribbean, as well as the longer term structural challenges faced by the region. The short and medium-term growth prospects, critical for defining the fiscal space that will be available to countries for public investment and social programs, especially given the elevated levels of debt in some countries in part due to the recent global crisis. How countries are affected by world growth patterns, the current growth prospects and medium-term structural challenges. The potential role of the multilateral development banks including the CDB and the IDB in supporting the countries of the region.

Global Financial Reform and the Caribbean

The status of leading financial reform measures stemming from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and their relevance for the Caribbean. The presentation will provide an overview of the impact of the GFC on the Caribbean financial system, a summary of G-20, United States, United Kingdom and other relevant financial reforms and the implications of these reforms for the Caribbean. The financial reform agenda and the particular situation of the countries in terms of both challenges and opportunities and what they see as priority areas for action. 

Climate Change and Infrastructure

The Caribbean region may face significant effects from climate change. The presentations will provide an overview of the topic and in particular the challenges facing the Caribbean as a result of Climate Change impacts. There will also be discussion as to how countries may adapt to Climate Change and, in the light of the recent IDB Climate Change strategy, the IDB’s work to assist member countries to address the many issues involved. One significant area of work is infrastructure, including energy, water, coastal management, transport and disaster risk prevention and management.  

Private Sector Development, Trade and Regional Integration

Recent changes in the global marketplace for goods and services and the implications for the Caribbean will be discussed. Given the size of Caribbean economies, integration may be necessary to compete effectively, but what policies would best favor competitiveness to accompany integration? More specifically the session will consider the importance and the growth of pan-Caribbean businesses and the policy environment that would allow them to flourish. Regional projects, both public and private, are likely to become increasingly important and the IDB will share its experiences in developing a regional approach. 

On October 2, a business round table with key policy-makers and private sector leaders will help identify opportunities for strategic partnerships to support private sector development and competitiveness.