Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, Ms. Inci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, and Karim Youssef
Deeper economic integration within the Caribbean has been a regional policy priority since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the decision to create the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Implementation of integration initiatives has, however, been slow, despite the stated commitment of political leaders. The “implementation deficit” has led to skepticism about completing the CSME and controversy regarding its benefits. This paper analyzes how Caribbean integration has evolved, discusses the obstacles to progress, and explores the potential benefits from greater integration. It argues that further economic integration through liberalization of trade and labor mobility can generate significant macroeconomic benefits, but slow progress in completing the institutional arrangements has hindered implementation of the essential components of the CSME and progress in economic integration. Advancing institutional integration through harmonization and rationalization of key institutions and processes can reduce the fixed costs of institutions, providing the needed scale and boost to regional integration. Greater cooperation in several functional policy areas where the region is facing common challenges can also provide low-hanging fruit, creating momentum toward full integration as the Community continues to address the obstacles to full economic integration.
Of the countries in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, Timor-Leste has the most well-developed gender budgeting initiative. In the Pacific Islands, a few gender budgeting efforts were initiated but did not continue. In the Caribbean, there have been no well-developed gender budgeting efforts, although governments have undertaken policies to promote gender equality. We provide a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of gender budgeting efforts. Governments should link gender budgeting to national development plans, set realistic time expectations for achieving results, engage in capacity building with officials, draw upon strengths outside the government, and strengthen regional coordination.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses recent economic developments, the outlook, and risks for the Czech Republic. The economy has been growing at an exceptionally strong pace. Driven by robust domestic demand, output expanded by 4.2 percent—the highest rate in the central and eastern European region—in 2015. Labor market performance has been strong. Fiscal performance was better than budgeted in 2015. The banking sector is stable, and credit growth continues to strengthen. However, economic activity is expected to slow in 2016. Private consumption will remain robust on the heels of higher disposable income and employment, but the projected slowdown in EU-fund absorption will weigh on growth.
Guyana continues to make progress in laying the foundation for poverty reduction, but at a slow pace. Critical issues remain to be addressed. Establishing an environment for sustained growth remains the main challenge for the government. It will be important to maintain the reform momentum and ensure basic security. An effective monitoring and evaluation framework needs to be fully implemented to support poverty reduction efforts. Prudent fiscal policies and a prioritized public sector investment program should continue to be pursued to improve debt sustainability prospects.
Despite the continued vulnerability of the economy to exogenous shocks, the inadequacy of infrastructure, and the weakness of existing institutional capacity, there has been considerable progress in actions and reforms initiated by the government within the framework of the poverty reduction strategy. However, additional resources will have to be mobilized for Guyana to continue to improve its productive capacity, and to improve and maintain its infrastructure. The government has implemented an ambitious legislative and regulatory reform agenda to advance its support for economic growth.