Nicholson calls for new growth agenda
MINISTER OF Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade A.J. Nicholson has called for a new growth agenda within the Caribbean, in a bid to foster growth and lift the most vulnerable out of poverty.
The minister, who will be the new chair of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC), said it is important that a concerted effort is made in championing the cause for growth within the small islands.
"Per capita GDP (gross domestic product) in the Caribbean has declined from just under three per cent in the 1990s to about 1.8 per cent in the 2000s, and is symptomatic of the region's relative decline in productivity and competitiveness," Nicholson said while addressing the 25th session of the CDCC held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston last Friday.
"I proffer that the region needs a new growth agenda, and this agenda should help the region to transition to average growth rates of around four to five per cent and higher over the long term to lift the large mass of our population out of poverty," the foreign-affairs minister told the gathering.
He also noted that climate change must be a major part of the growth agenda in order to bring about a sustainable future.
"The attainment of higher levels of growth will need the concerted efforts of both the public and private sector working in partnership. While recognising that the private sector is the engine, sustainable growth will be impossible without the type of fiscal reform and structured consolidation, as the reality is that the high debt overhang in the region is strangling our economies," he said.
Nicholson added: "Climate-change planning and risk mitigation must be mainstreamed in all development strategies across the region. This would not only demand careful policies for mitigation, but the design of appropriate financing mechanisms to finance this mitigation."