Mr. David Robinson, Mr. Paul Cashin, and Ms. Ratna Sahay
This book sets out the economic challenges facing the island nations of the Caribbean and presents policy options to ameliorate external shocks and embark firmly on a sustained growth path. While the countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union that are the focus of the book have enjoyed a sustained period of price and exchange rate stability, they have been buffeted in recent years by adverse shocks, including the erosion of trade preferences, declines in official foreign assistance, and frequent natural disasters. Strengthening their growth performance will require design of a multifaceted strategy that integrates the Caribbean with the global economy, facilitates an economic transformation from agriculture to tourism, fosters greater regional cooperation, and preserves macroeconomic stability. This volume examines the critical issues that are part of that process, including fiscal and financial sector policy, management of external flows, trade integration and tourism, macroeconomic cycles and volatility, and the economic implications of natural disasters.
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Over the last decade, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) macroeconomic performance has deteriorated relative to the rest of the Caribbean. Tourism accounts for three-fifths of exports, and the import content of consumption and investment is high. The ECCB-operated quasi-currency board arrangement (CBA) has continued to deliver price and exchange rate stability. The region has strong social indicators, but poverty, health, and crime remain concerns. Despite the implementation of ambitious revenue reforms, limited progress has been made toward fiscal consolidation. Credit has continued to expand rapidly.
This Selected Issues paper on the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) underlies key features of business cycles. To obtain new measures of classical and growth cycles, simple rules were applied to date turning points in the classical business cycle, and a recently developed frequency domain filter was used to estimate the growth cycle. At the regional level, the ECCU countries are facing two shocks, i.e., the depreciation of the U.S. dollar and the depreciation of the Dominican Republic’s peso. The countries of the ECCU have experienced modest erosion in their price and nonprice competitiveness.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the competitive threats to the tourism sector in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The paper concludes that the ECCU countries have lost competitiveness globally and vis-à-vis newly emergent Caribbean tourist destinations as a result of both price and nonprice factors. The short-term measures implemented by the countries seem to have been insufficient to prevent further declines in 2002. The paper also describes strengthening fiscal discipline through fiscal benchmarks.
Mr. Alfred Schipke, Aliona Cebotari, and Ms. Nita Thacker
The Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union (OECS/ECCU) is one of four currency unions in the world. As in other parts of the world in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis, the region is at a crossroads, facing the major challenges of creating jobs, making growth more inclusive, reforming the banking system, and managing volatility, while grappling with high public debt and persistent low economic growth. Policymakers have the critical task of implementing strong reforms to strengthen the monetary union while also laying the foundation for accelerating growth. This Handbook provides a comprehensive analysis of the key issues in the OECS/ECCU, including its organization and economic and financial sector linkages, and provides policy recommendations to foster economic growth.
This paper examines the First Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility for Dominica. The authorities were encouraged by the stronger-than-envisaged performance, but considered it premature to change the macroeconomic framework. The recent encouraging developments on the growth front enhanced the credibility of the macroeconomic framework and increased the chances of success. The authorities embraced the ambitious structural reform agenda as a necessary course of action to address the complex problems faced by Dominica.
The Dominican government’s main policy objective is to create the basis for the sustained growth of output and employment through economic diversification and financial stability. The structure of the economy has continued to shift away from banana production, with services gaining importance as a key source of growth. In addition to streamlining the public investment program, the early adoption of fiscal measures will maintain soundness in the public finances. A more determined pursuit of the structural reform agenda will help increase economic efficiency.
The 2008 Article IV Consultation with Dominica discusses external competitiveness and key policy issues. The real effective exchange rate is broadly in line with macroeconomic fundamentals. Fiscal policy is appropriately focused on reducing high public debt. Plans for developing the tourist sector, including improving air access and roads to tourist attractions, are well advanced and should be financed with a view maintaining the sustainability of public debt. The authorities rightly emphasize improving the business climate, strengthening regulation and supervision of the financial sector, and improving disaster preparedness.
This report describes recent economic developments in Dominica. It highlights that the major trading partners of Dominica are the United Kingdom, the United States, and members of the Caribbean Common Market. Efforts to broaden Dominica’s economic base thus far have been met with limited success. Growth in the tourism sector accelerated in the 1990s, but was concentrated on cruise ship passengers because of poor airport access and inadequate hotel capacity. Because of its narrow agricultural base, the economy remains vulnerable to external shocks. The report also describes the public finances and external sector of Dominica.