Although grappling with challenges related to climate change; wide fiscal deficits and high public debt; as well as high unemployment, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) yesterday projected that the region’s economy is expected to grow by 2% in 2019 and Guyana was one of the fastest growing economies last year.
This was stated by CDB President, Dr. Warren Smith as he shared the Bank’s forecast at its Annual News Conference, held in Barbados, according to a CDB press release.
“Despite projections of deceleration in global economic activity, the 2019 economic outlook for our Borrowing Member Countries is positive. CDB is projecting that real GDP growth will be around 2%, as construction, tourism, and the extractive industries such as gold and oil are expected to expand,” Smith was quoted as saying.
The President outlined that the majority of the Bank’s borrowing members recorded economic growth averaging 1.9%, compared with 0.5% in 2017. He noted that Guyana was one of the fastest-growing regional economies of 2018.
The CDB noted that growth in Guyana which was recorded at 3.4%, was mainly due to increased construction activity, in advance of the first commercial production of oil in 2020. Grenada led the region at 5.2% as it continued its five-year positive trend.
Smith stated that some members were adversely affected by the hurricane season and therefore suffered economic contraction. In the case of Barbados, their contraction was the result of a fall in construction activity as well as the impact of their fiscal consolidation.
In the face of these mixed fortunes, the CDB president called for a dual strategy of resilience-building and transformation to accelerate growth in the region and to ensure that economic gains can be sustainable.
The Bank disclosed that it has signed an agreement with the Green Climate Fund which will facilitate more climate finance projects in the Region.
Calling for transformation to address the increasingly complex challenges Caribbean countries faced, Smith noted that the process has already been taking shape.