The Caribbean economy has experienced increased growth in the last year, moving from 1.4% in 2013 to 1.8% in 2014, with even more positive prospects for 2015, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), at the launch of the flagship report: “Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2014”.
This was presented by ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena at the Commission’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile on 2 December 2014, and was broadcast online and via videoconference.
Following this launch, the ECLAC subregional headquarters for the Caribbean in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, delivered a presentation on the Caribbean perspective, and highlighting some of the challenges being experienced in the subregion which contributes to the somewhat slow economic growth.
According to ECLAC, unemployment eased but remains a major issue especially among youths, and noted that the average rate at 13% is still quite high and is even higher among youths including high school and university graduates. The post global economic crisis period has also resulted in a high number of discouraged workers in many countries.
The Caribbean perspective showed that monetary conditions continue to be marked by high levels of excess liquidity in the banking system, which reflects imperfections and high administrative costs in the banking system, which could have created opportunities through the allocation of the funds to productive projects.
According to ECLAC, there is hope, as recovery in activity is expected to strengthen in 2015, with growth increasing to 2.3%, driven by continued recovery in the tourism, construction and public infrastructure projects.
It was recognized that there is need for skills retooling, with the development of short-term employment programmes to provide on the job experience, nurturing entrepreneurship for self-employment, on-line labour market information and matching system, as well as focus on innovation and creativity training to grow high quality jobs.