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Thread: Tracking Caribbean Economies

  1. #16
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    Internet exchange points critical to Caribbean digital economy

    Caribbean nations need to strengthen their Internet infrastructure if the region is to take full advantage of the global digital economy.

    That was the view expressed by Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) vice president Mark Vanterpool, at the official launch of CTU’s ICT Week in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI).

    Vanterpool, the Minister for Communications and Works in the BVI, used his country as an example of the benefits of investing in Internet infrastructure. He singled out the role of the local Internet exchange points, commonly called IXPs, as one of the key enablers of the Caribbean digital economy.


    Read more: Internet exchange points critical to Caribbean digital economy | Caribbean360

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    The first Haitian bananas have arrived in Europe

    The cargo of 100 tons of organic bananas Haitian (about 8,000 bunches) from the AGRITRANS company, loaded on the Crown Garnet September 8 in Cap Haitien is arrived at the dock 212 of the Port of Antwerp International (Belgium).

    On this occasion were present Dr. Frantz Bataille, Charge d'Affaires in Berlin and Dominique Dejean, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Haiti in Germany, Huguette Herard von Raussendorf, Charge d'Affaires in Brussels, Felio Joseph Adviser and Georges Duroseau First Secretary at the Embassy of Haiti in Belgium.

    The first banana crates scrolling on a conveyor have been a moment of pride and emotion punctuated with applause by the delegations present, as well as the CEO of the International Port and its quality control manager. Diplomatic staff observed quality control techniques, carried out by the staff of the Port on the Haitian cargo of bananas.

    After unloading bananas and control the various diplomatic actors and the direction of the Port of Antwerp have made a toast to celebrate the return of Haiti bananas on the international market, after 60 years.

    Haiti - Economy : The first Haitian bananas have arrived in Europe - HaitiLibre.com : Haiti news 7/7

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    30,000 cruise ship visitors expected to POS, Trinidad

    THE Tourism Development Company (TDC) is expecting sixteen cruise ships carrying 30,000 visitors to dock in Port of Spain when the 2015/2016 cruise ship season starts in November.

    The visitor numbers represent a 56 per cent increase in cruise passenger arrivals, when compared to the same period last year, according to the TDC, which issued a statement on Tuesday.

    The TDC said: “Some of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships have added Trinidad and Tobago to their itineraries for the upcoming season including the MSC Orchestra, with a capacity of over 2,000 passengers and the intimate yet sumptuous World Odyssey and Voyager ships. Also making a return to Trinidad and Tobago’s waters are the Saga Sapphire and Seven Ocean Princess”.

    According to the TDC, the increasing popularity of Trinidad and Tobago as a port-of-call comes as the Caribbean Tourism Organisation reported 104 per cent growth in cruise tourism arrivals for the twin island nation between 2014 and 2015, the largest rate of growth reported for any destination.

    “As the amount of visiting ships grow in number, so too are the variety of on-shore activities and tours available for cruise passengers, both in and beyond the city of Port of Spain. Shore side activities are as much a part of the cruise experience as enjoying the onboard services of the cruise ship and visitors to the islands can explore through the eyes of a local the City Tour, bask in the beauty of the lush northern mountain range en route to Maracas Beach or witness the spectacular sight of Scarlet Ibis at the Caroni Swamp and Bird Sanctuary”

    The TDC said it will be deploying Visitor Guides in and around the Port of Port of Spain to assist passengers, with local tourism ambassadors and visitor guides strategically positioned at the cruise ship terminal and in the streets of the capital city to assist passengers with maps and information on local points of interest.

    Trinidad Express Newspapers: Business | 30,000 cruise ship visitors expected
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    Less growth for Jamaica — IMF

    But rates still beat LAC average

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised downward its growth projection for Jamaica up to 2016, according to the World Economic Outlook (WEO) released this week.

    The IMF noted in its quarterly World Economic Outlook (WEO) that the island should grow at 1.1 per cent in 2015 down from 1.7 per cent projected in the previous report. The island should also grow at 2.1 per cent in 2016 down from 2.2 per cent in the previous report.

    Despite the downward revision, the island actually beat the regional average growth for Latin America and the Caribbean region (LAC), according to fresh data from the island's multilateral lender, the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    It is rare, at least in recent years, for the island to beat the region. Commodity prices led by energy and grains are no longer supporting the growth in Brazil, Venezula, Argentina and Mexico. As a result their growth is weak, but it also allows commodity importers like Jamaica a chance to grow.

    The LAC regiion is set to grow at negative 0.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

    Panama will continue growing at the fastest pace in the Americas at 6.0 per cent and 6.3 per cent in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

    Meanwhile, oil-rich Venezuela should decline by 10.0 per cent and 6.0 per cent in 2015 and 2016, the worst in the region.

    Jamaica will edge out oil-rich Trinidad & Tobago, set to grow at 1.0 per cent and 1.4 per cent in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

    But the Dominican Republic should grow at the fastest pace in the Caribbean at 5.5 and 4.5 per cent over the review period.

    The WEO acknowledged that Caribbean countries are running one of the largest deficits due in part to their oil dependence.

    "It suggests that these countries do run larger deficits than others, after their size and level of development are controlled for. The intensity of their oil dependence is clearly a factor explaining their deficits," stated the report.

    In the previous WEO it highlighted that government deficits would come under greater pressure, were the PetroCaribe concessionary oil agreement between Venezuela and the Caribbean to end.

    The previous WEO also warned against governments stimulating Caribbean economies in an effort to spur growth. It indicated that "misguided efforts to address the current slowdown" with excessive policy stimulus, rather than by tackling supply-side bottlenecks and competitiveness problems, could also undermine countries' hard-won macroeconomic stability.

    Jamaica signed a US$932.3-million four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement with the IMF. The programme calls for the reduction of Jamaica's debt from some 145 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 96 per cent by 2020. It also includes achieving a 7.5 per cent primary budgetary surplus target; implementation of a National Debt Exchange programme; currency depreciation; tax reform; and public sector reform -- restructuring of salaries to reduce ratio to GDP from 10.6 per cent to nine per cent by 2015/16.

    Less growth for Jamaica — IMF - Business - JamaicaObserver.com

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    Barbados must reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio, says Central Bank

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday November 2, 2015 – Despite the dramatic improvement in the tourism industry, especially a 14 per cent increase in long stay arrivals so far this year, the Barbados economy grew by a marginal 0.3 per cent for the first nine months of the year, according to the Central Bank of Barbados, in its latest economic press release.

    The major reason has been the construction sector, which the bank said “fell short of expectations” and the spin-off effect this had on the retail and domestic services sectors.

    Also holding back the economy were what the bank termed “administrative issues” which had caused the emerging photovoltaic systems sector here to stall, with only a quarter of around 8 megawatts of new capacity fully operational.


    Read more: Barbados must reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio, says Central Bank | Caribbean360

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    Trinidad and Tobago to strengthen trade facilitation processes with help from the IDB

    The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$25 million loan to Trinidad and Tobago to help the twin-island republic improve its trade facilitation processes, part of an effort to boost and diversify the economy.

    The loan will help strengthen the country’s Single Electronic Window for Trade and Business Facilitation Project (TTBizLink), a secure business portal created in 2009 that simplifies foreign trade and business processes by providing around-the-clock access to relevant government services.

    The platform seeks to substantially reduce time and costs of trade and business transactions for private sector users while gathering and sharing relevant information among government agencies to simplify processes and optimize revenue collection.

    The 25-year loan will support business processing reengineering and risk management for government agencies, an e-payment solution, the connection with Ports and Customs systems, an intermodal logistics platform, and the interoperability with other single windows, among other things.

    Read more: Trinidad to strengthen trade facilitation processes with help from the IDB | Caribbean360

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    Additional $71.5 million funding for Eastern Caribbean sustainable energy programme

    Additional funding has been put in place to facilitate the growth of the renewable energy sector in the Eastern Caribbean.

    As part of the Sustainable Energy Facility (SEF) for the Eastern Caribbean, a US$71.5 million loan and grant package was signed on Tuesday by Dr William Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

    The signing took place in Miami ahead of the start of the annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Conference.

    The six independent countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) – Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines – are island states with small and isolated electricity markets, lacking the scale necessary to import cheaper fossil fuels, such as natural gas, and inadequate development of renewable energy potential.

    Read More; Additional $71.5 million funding for Eastern Caribbean sustainable energy programme | Caribbean News Now

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    Guyana providing millions to get rid of pest affecting coconut industry

    GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thursday December 3, 2015 – Cabinet has approved a GUY$49 million (US$236,483) package to help coconut farmers fight a red palm mite infestation affecting the industry.

    The money will be used to purchase chemicals, equipment, and safety gear and provided to farmers at a subsidized cost to combat this infestation, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said during a post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday.

    Coconut crops are located in six of Guyana’s 10 regions – Regions 2, 3, 4 5, 6 and 10 – and Agriculture Minister Noel Holder told Cabinet that Regions 2 and 3 were particularly affected by the red palm mite.

    Technical teams have been deployed to assist farmers get rid of the pest.

    The red palm mites form colonies on the underside of leaves and feed on the contents of the cells of the leaves. This feeding can cause localized yellowing of the leaves.

    Read more: Guyana providing millions to get rid of pest affecting coconut industry | Caribbean360

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    Caribbean takes steps to prevent bird flu
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    T&T in Recession

    THREE WEEKS before Christmas, the Central Bank has announced that this country is officially now in a recession.

    Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran, at a monetary policy forum at the Hyatt Hotel Port of Spain on Friday, said this is in light of continued declines in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said this country suffered its fourth consecutive decline.

    He said noticeable signs of the recession will start to set in next year, as businesses begin to cut back on investments, consumers hold back on spending and banks loans become fewer.

    A recession, which is a sustained period of general economic decline, is defined as a decline in GDP for two or more consecutive quarters.

    WHERE DID THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE GO?

    The Central Bank Governor provided some answers as to where the billions of dollars pumped into the financial system over the last three years ended up.

    He labelled the Retail and Distribution sector as “the most voracious consumer” of foreign exchange, swallowing up almost US$4.5 billion in a three year period. He revealed that the major user of the currency in that sector was American warehouse chain, PriceSmart, which consumed US$507 million. The other top users in that sector were:

    - Courts (US$198)

    - Smith Robertson and Company (US$169million)

    - A.S. Bryden (US$153 million)

    - Massy Distribution (US$136 million)

    Credit card payments accounted for US$1.8 billion over the past three year, Rambarran said.

    He went on to caution consumers on depending heavily on imported goods.

    “The current shortage of US dollars will not be solved unless we dramatically change of consumer-driven, heavily import-dependent behaviour. The import content of our consumer spending is at least 80 per cent.”

    “Look at our exuberant behaviour during Black Friday, just one week ago, with shoppers camping outside the doors of wholesalers waiting eagerly to pounce on that must-have imported JVC 43-inch television priced at US$400.”

    Read More Trinidad Express Newspapers: News | T&T in Recession

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    T&T ‘s Central Bank governor defends his recession announcement



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    Equity is the key to the economic turnaround of Jamaica

    Equity is the key to the economic turnaround of Jamaica - Business - JamaicaObserver.com

    Prime Minister Andrew Holness injected an extremely welcome note of leadership, transparency and accountability (in short, an emphasis on good governance) for his first Cabinet meeting earlier this week. He both invited the press, and emphasised the importance of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

    The 2002 code, which was signed by former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, is based on the recommendations of a UK committee headed by Lord Nolan, “The Nolan Report”, which laid out the seven principles of public life: Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, and Leadership. It can be argued that three of these characteristics: openness, accountability and honesty together define transparency in government.

    It is the Government’s obligation to share information with its citizens that enables them to hold their public officials accountable. Furthermore, governments exist to serve the people, and in an ideal world, their representatives would take decisions “solely in terms of the public interest”, thereby exhibiting “selflessness”.

    While it is not a precise analogy, one way to look at our situation is that the shareholders (voters) at their annual general meeting (the election) have appointed new directors, and in particular a new managing director (prime minister) to be the stewards of the company called Jamaica

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    IMF: T&T economy not in crisis

    http://www.cnc3.co.tt/press-release/...omy-not-crisis


    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Trinidad and Tobago's economy is not in crisis.

    The IMF report following the mission to this country earlier this month, says that while the challenge of falling revenues due to low energy prices remains, there are substantial buffers and low public debt.

    The IMF report also states that the economy has several strengths including a well-educated work force and a stable education system.

    The report goes on to say since assuming office the current government has already taken steps to deal with the revenue reductions, by widening the VAT tax base, cutting fuel subsidies and cutting the number of government ministries to streamline operations.

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