Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), Christine Lagarde, (l.) with Jamaican PM Andrew Holness, 2nd from l and other officials in Jamaica last week. (JIS image)
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. 22, 2017: Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, (IMF), Christine Lagarde, says the Caribbean’s growth has been affected by at least four structural impediments. Addressing the IMF’s Sixth High Level Caribbean Forum in Jamaica late last week, Lagarde identified those four impediments as:
1: The region’s high cost of electricity:
2: Limited access to credit for households and medium and small enterprises;
3: High rates of violent crime;
4: A persistent outflow of highly-skilled workers or the brain drain.
Zoning in on the hot button issue of crime and youth unemployment in the Caribbean, which is among the highest in the world, Laguarde said “crime – partly fueled by this high rate of joblessness – is a major obstacle to growth in the Caribbean.”
The IMF head said “crime imposes several economic costs, including public spending on security and the criminal justice system; private spending on security; and social costs from the loss of income due to victimization and incarceration.”
She pointed to a recent study from the Inter-American Development Bank which found that, on average, crime in the Caribbean costs nearly 4 percent of GDP per year, more than in most Latin American countries.
“So we need to create a virtuous cycle, where strong growth would reduce high unemployment and in particular high youth unemployment and crime which, in turn, would contribute to boosting productivity and growth —without which investors are reluctant to invest,” she suggested as a solution, in remarks at the event.
The IMF forum was help in partnership with the Government of Jamaica on Nov. 16th in Kingston.