The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, says recent competitiveness and productivity indicators in the Caribbean have not been positive.
Addressing Ministers of Trade and other stakeholders from around the region at a meeting on competitiveness in Atlanta Georgia, the OAS official said, “The economies of the Caribbean region are facing GDP growth rates of only 1% this year. Caribbean productivity is also lagging behind other regions. The situation in terms of competitiveness is not positive. In fact all Caribbean countries, except Barbados, are listed at the end of the global competitiveness rating of the World Economic Forum.”
The OAS official acknowledged that the Caribbean has been significantly challenged by the global economic crisis and faced other obstacles to competitiveness, ranging from unfavorable tax structures and limited access to venture capital, to corruption, inefficiency, crime and violence. Ramdin however, maintains the situation can be turned around. “What it would require, is a creative development structure focused on business education, entrepreneurship, the modernization of regulatory frameworks and the strengthening of state institutions to support productivity and export.”
According to the OAS Assistant Secretary General, a “mind shift” is also required in terms of the Caribbean Community’s foreign and trade policy. “Competitiveness needs to be placed high on the political agenda of the sub-region. Political leaders need to have frank discussions among themselves and with key stakeholders, on a regional strategy. Just having natural resources and a well educated population is not enough.”
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.