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CDB to discuss policies for an economic recovery from COVID-19 and a more resilient Caribbean

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – A high-level panel of government and business leaders will explore the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Caribbean in the opening seminar of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) 51st Annual Meeting. They will also examine policy imperatives for recovering from the impacts and the keys to building a Caribbean Region that is far more resilient to external shocks. The two-hour virtual event, titled “Reimagining Caribbean Economies in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic”, will take place on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Participants of the webinar, include Gregory Bowen, minister of finance, economic development, physical development and energy, Grenada; Marsha Caddle, minister, economic affairs and investment in the ministry of finance, economic affairs and investment, Barbados; Nigel Clarke, minister of finance and the public service, Jamaica; James Thompson, minister of state for finance, The Bahamas; Timothy Antoine, Governor, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank; Senator Don Wehby, CEO, GraceKennedy Group, Jamaica; Ali Mansoor, Chairman, Board of Directors at Regional Multi-disciplinary Centre of Excellence, USA; and Ian Durant, director of economics, CDB.

The panellists will discuss the policy imperatives for a green recovery post-pandemic, debt sustainability challenges that have emerged and how to build economic resilience given the vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic.

The impacts of the pandemic have exposed some structural weaknesses in CDB’s Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) that need to be addressed if the Region is to emerge successfully from the crisis. These structural weaknesses have led to high export concentration, which is reflected in the high share of revenue from tourism or minerals in total exports. This exposed the foreign reserve positions of BMCs to the effects of the pandemic on these industries, and the negative effects were transmitted to labour markets, fiscal performance, and the social sector. The impacts have emphasised the need for diversifying the export mix of Caribbean countries.

Ian Durant, CDB’s director of economics, said: “As countries implement policies to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, BMCs need to reduce the susceptibility to shocks, limit output volatility and increase the rates of inclusive growth through improved competitiveness that leads to export diversification. Such policies also need to be geared towards a green recovery.”

The webinar will look at the global context and critical trends. Panellists will also examine how BMCs must reposition their economies in response to the context to achieve higher and sustained levels of inclusive growth while limiting the extent of the impact of external shocks on their economies in the future.

The webinar can be watched live on CDB’s Facebook and YouTube channels on Thursday, June 17, 2021 from 10 a.m. to noon (AST).



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