Guide Competitiveness in Small Developing Economies: Insights from the Caribbean

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Tagged with: Caribbean. Comprehensive evaluation of 34 dimensions for each destination Full color display of data points Global and regional ranking score 41 destinations in the Middle East, Asia, Americas, Africa, and Europe. Comprehensive evaluation of 34 dimensions for each destination. Full color display of data points Global and regional ranking score. Complete Methodology. The weak economic performance is related to common development challenges.

While each country faces idiosyncratic challenges, common constraints to growth and development emerge. For example, all countries are small, and all countries face climate risks from their geographic location in the Caribbean. But there are other similarities as well, such as issues involving competitiveness, the ease of doing business, and institutional development, all of which are usually below levels in comparator countries. Policy suggestions are often similar. For instance, fiscal prudence and strengthening of fiscal institutions is central in all countries.

Most countries would also benefit from institutional strengthening, a better business climate, and more competitive environments. This blog has only provided a small overview of these and other challenges facing the region. More detailed analysis and policy recommendations can be found in the individual country summaries in the Quarterly Bulletin.

Since joining the IDB, Juan Pedro has worked in different capacities, including as a country economist for Jamaica and for Barbados, and as regional macroeconomist. His work has covered a broad range of areas, including macroeconomic monitoring, preparation of country strategies, lending operations, coordination of departmental macroeconomic work, and programming and research on a broad range of topics.

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Competitiveness in Small Developing Economies: Insights from the Caribbean

What has enabled the CAC region to have achieved faster growth than the rest of the Latin American countries? In addition, the relative macroeconomic stability of CAC countries reflects sound monetary and public-finance policies Exhibit 2.

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  • The dynamics of industrial growth have recently changed due to the automation of processes, significantly reducing the labor intensity of typical manufacturing occupations—however, it remains an important lever of growth in several high-growth developing economies. Growth in CAC has also been driven by high levels of investment and household consumption when compared with the rest of Latin America and the global average. Household consumption is partly explained by the high value of remittances received in a majority of CAC countries: except for Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago, remittances represent on average 11 percent of GDP, compared with the global average of less than 1 percent.

    On the other hand, a high trade-balance deficit remains a main factor of lag, both regionally and in the fastest-growing countries.

    The University of the West Indies, Mona

    We classified the CAC countries into four archetypes, according to their current income level and economic growth over the last 30 years: stars, emerging, falling behind, and laggards Exhibit 3. Exhibit 3. As discussed, CAC has grown at a faster rate than the regional average, mainly driven by rapid productivity growth, a strong service sector, high levels of investment and household consumption, and macroeconomic stability. However, this growth could be affected by global and regional changes. Declining fertility rates could negatively affect the economy of the region, given its growth structure.

    However, the benefits of new technologies for users and businesses would contribute to further economic growth and job creation, allowing society to promote inclusive growth policies.

    Apart from this, the digital revolution also presents a key opportunity to transform government productivity—from enabling data-driven decisions to the digitization of end-to-end processes and the reinvention of government interactions with citizens and businesses. Based on current export portfolios, most countries should strive to find opportunities for diversification, including an important transformation of the quality of education, which would enable building the human capital required to meet the needs of the new demand.

    Crime and feelings of being unsafe have reached epidemic levels in the region. Some countries, such as El Salvador and Honduras, experience homicide rates similar to that of war zones. However, there is some good news for most CAC countries, where homicide rates have dropped dramatically since for example, in El Salvador, rates have fallen by almost 50 percent, from to 60 homicides per , inhabitants, and in Honduras, by about 30 percent, from 60 to An increase in migration flows is a particularly important aspect in regard to Central America and the Caribbean CAC , with more than , new immigrants since The flows have been inward and outward.

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    For outward flows, in , 92 percent of all emigrants from Nicaragua and the countries of the Northern Triangle had Costa Rica, Mexico, or the United States as a final destination. The effects of migration will depend on governments across the region—whether they can turn the challenge into an opportunity. It is important that recipient countries design effective integration policies, and that emitting countries develop strategies to mitigate the risk of talent drain and to create opportunities for a vulnerable population.

    The growing pressure on public spending and high levels of government debt are tightening the resources of governments around the world. With some exceptions, such as Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago, most countries in the region seem to have learned from the mistakes of the past and have increased their fiscal discipline—but the vulnerability of public debt remains a priority.

    Small Island Developing States | United Nations ESCAP

    CAC has an opportunity to learn from more urbanized regions and plan for appropriate social and economic development of its main cities as urban migration continues to accelerate. Closing the infrastructure gap will be one of the key challenges. Although international trade has expanded to emerging mostly Asian markets in recent years, CAC economies are still highly dependent on trade with the United States, in addition to their export industries depending on a few commodities and low-value-added products.

    However, the region has about 40 percent of all the free-trade agreements signed in Latin America, making it a region with a high potential for commercial integration with global fast-growing markets. The seven trends present both challenges and opportunities for tackling development needs across CAC. We believe three key factors could present a path forward to promote inclusive and sustainable growth in the region: incorporating lessons learned from regional success stories, boosting competitiveness to capture the value at stake, and strengthening connectivity and cooperation between the public and private sectors in the region.

    Most countries in the region have success stories in terms of sector development. Among them, six stories were studied in detail:.