Friday 30 October, 2020

CDB Pres: Caribbean yet to exploit the potential regional integration

 President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr William Warren Smith. Photo: The Caribbean Development Bank.

President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr William Warren Smith. Photo: The Caribbean Development Bank.

Outgoing President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr William Warren Smith has stressed that some member countries, with no reserve currencies, need to diversify and expand exports in order to improve standards of living for their citizens.

In his addressed at today’s 50 Annual Meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors, Smith said: “A diversified production structure helps to build economic resilience, making economies less susceptible to price and output fluctuations. Such a diversified structure also leads to low cost, productive and competitive economies.”

Smith said countries need to find ways for the private sector to be the premier generator of jobs, incomes, and exports.

He noted for this to happen the public sector needs to pay much more attention to creating an ecosystem that includes climate-friendly infrastructure, a healthy and skilled labour force, enabling legislative and regulatory frameworks, enabling culture and access to appropriate types of finance.

Smith highlighted that the Caribbean has not exploited the true potential of the regional integration project to allow regional firms access to a larger protected market in which they could grow.

“I believe that the full potential of the integration movement has been limited by significant non-tariff barriers to trade; a lack of harmonised investment codes, tax incentives, and macroeconomic policies; and restrictions on capital mobility,” Smith stated as he noted more than half of the actions agreed in the 2001 roadmap to a single market and economy still need to be implemented.

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