Region too slow on development goals

President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Warren Smith, highlighted at today’s opening ceremony of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors that the Caribbean was running out of time to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

“We are moving too slowly in doing those things, which will ensure that, by the year 2030, our Region will have delivered on our promise to eliminate poverty and to reduce inequality,” said Smith.

In his statement, the President noted that a combination of factors, such as the volatility of petroleum markets and depressed commodity prices, increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, business environment reforms that lag behind other regions, and inadequate fiscal and debt management contributed to growth slowing to less than 1% in the past decade.

At the same time, there was a rapid build-up of debt, with 10 Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs) exceeding the international benchmark of 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of 2018. Concurrently, the attractiveness of Caribbean countries for investment has declined noticeably, according to data published by the World Bank.

Despite the fact that the Caribbean Region is off track in delivering on the promise of prosperity and social justice for the people, Smith still believed the 2030 Agenda was still achievable.