Publication: Latin America and the Caribbean : A Time to Choose, Caribbean Development in the 21st Century

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World Bank
This report seeks to discuss the critical constraints to sustainable, job-creating growth, and to present policy options for the region and country Governments to stimulate such growth. It analyzes growth performance in the Caribbean over the last four decades, and highlights key determinants of past and also future growth. Given the recent deterioration in government finances, the report then studies key areas of government expenditure. A discussion of the climate for private investment follows, which looks at the framework that shapes the risks and returns for private investment. The report then discusses the impact of recent trade developments on the Caribbean, the future outlook in view of major ongoing changes in the international environment, as well as the opportunities that are likely to emerge, especially in the services sector. It then focuses on some key factors that have been significant in determining past growth in the Caribbean, including labor market issues; education, skill development and training; and, infrastructure. The report suggests a pro-active approach for the region to take on the challenges of a group of small states, facing severe resource constraints, eroding trade preferences, declining productivity, and increasing risk of macro instability. First, it argues that greater integration within the CARICOM region on several fronts will be a critical input into improving competitiveness. Second, on trade, the report argues that a negotiation of an orderly dismantling of preferences in return for increased technical and financial support would be in the region's interest. Third, improving the investment climate, and orienting it away from being subsidy-driven, addressing problems of high taxes and inefficient customs procedures, as well as specific infrastructure deficiencies, would help improve the quality of private investment and maintain the high levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Fourth, making the public sector more cost-effective and delivering services more efficiently, through greater reliance on the private sector, seeking cost efficiencies through regional cooperation. Fifth, improving the quality and effectiveness of human resources would enable diversification into knowledge-based activities including services, increase exports, and improve productivity in existing activities.
World Bank. 2005. Latin America and the Caribbean : A Time to Choose, Caribbean Development in the 21st Century. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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