Launching of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) – St. Kitts and Nevis Chapter

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 19TH 2013 (CUOPM) – The Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) – St. Kitts and Nevis Chapter aimed at addressing factors that impede private sector development in the Caribbean with a view of identifying policies and initiatives that promote growth and job creation in the region will be launched here next week.

The February 26th event at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort is an initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank, in collaboration with the United Kingdom Agency for the International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency.

The Ministry of Finance said three areas have been identified for future activities. These themes Logistics and Connectivity, Investment Climate and Skills and Productivity and are explained.

Investment Climate – When the Government provides a good “investment climate,” private investment is well directed, socially efficient and tends to be the key element of sustained growth.

A comprehensive and good investment climate will include political and macro stability, a sound and stable regulatory framework and efficient supporting institutions, and an adequate physical and social infrastructure. Moreover, most of the Caribbean countries need to shift the focus from a subsidy-driven policy to one that provides a conducive investment climate for all potential investors in a global context of fiscal consolidation and debt reduction trajectory.

Skills and Productivity – While most of the Caribbean countries are no longer competitive in several areas of manufacturing, many islands can be competitive in many services sectors and indeed, in niche, manufacturing requires high skills levels.

The weakness of labour market and the mismatching between private sector needs and educational system also have to be addressed. A renewed focus on education and skill development is needed to help improve competitiveness and foster job creations. Finally, impacts of intraregional mobility on labour productivity have to be assessed.

Logistics and Connectivity – While structural factors like remoteness, size and endowments explain the poor performance indicators of infrastructure and connectivity, policies and institutions also contribute to explain the differences observed in performance within the Caribbean as well as compared with benchmark countries.

Thus, new policy approaches would help to increase infrastructure access and reduce costs of transportation.

During the launch, policies and initiative for growth and job creation will be identified and working groups will be established for follow up work after the launch. Each group would be led by a facilitator chosen by the World Bank and is expected to identify priority projects for funding.

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