The CDB forecasts five per cent growth for Antigua and Barbuda

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A Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) official anticipates that the Antigua and Barbuda economy will grow by 5.3 percent this year.
Dr. Justin Ram, the CDB’s director of Economics, announced the forecast during the bank’s annual news conference in Barbados on Wednesday.
When asked if double digit growth is “unrealistic,” Dr. Ram deftly sidestepped the query, saying instead, that having a good growth rate is possible once all sectors of the economy are working in tandem.
“There’s human capital, so how educated is your labour force and can they increase overall levels of productivity?” he queried in an interview with an OBSERVER media reporter, who attended the news conference.
Then, there is the man-made infrastructure such as roads which he said the government needs to ensure are well maintained and at a level that provides a boost to economic growth and productivity.
“And also trying to improve the overall level of competitiveness. I think if the government focuses on these issues then we can expect to see a much higher growth rate. But five percent is very high,” he assured.
Antigua and Barbuda’s projected 5.3 per cent economic growth will contribute to the average two per cent growth that is expected in the Caribbean this year.
That regional mean will be spurred by rebuilding and redevelopment taking place in those countries that were devastated by hurricanes in 2017.
“The highest growth rates are projected for Anguilla and Dominica. Antigua and Barbuda, and the Turks and Caicos Islands are also expected to have strong growth,” Ram said.
The region-wide economic upswing will follow overall growth of less than one percent in 2017.
Despite the positive outlook, Dr. Ram wants the CDB’s member countries to pay close attention to their fiscal accounts as well as low productivity and competitiveness.
In his presentation during the news conference, he said the return to growth is encouraging but the Caribbean still lags behind other small developing states where economic growth is at 4.8 percent average compared to the Caribbean at 0.8 percent since 2009.

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