A short note on “Caribbean Youth”

In many ways we have become accustomed to analyzing, critiquing and comparing our countries’ respective levels of development as though they were all birthed into independence at the same time and under the same conditions. However, upon celebrating my birthday earlier this year, it dawned on me that my sister-isle nation of Trinidad & Tobago is merely 19 years older than me. While time is by no means the sole factor in development, it affords us an appreciation of: (i) the progress made to date; (ii) the challenges currently being faced in our small independent nations; and (iii) the sense of urgency needed to accelerate the pace of development – even in our long-term strategic economic development plans.

Take a look at the table below which lists the years of independence of G-8 countries (excluding Russia) against that of the English-speaking Caribbean member countries of the IDB.

Years of Independence

G-8 Countries

“Caribbean Youth”

Japan 2,073 Jamaica 51
France 1,170 Trinidad & Tobago 51
United Kingdom 306 Guyana 47
United States 237 Barbados 47
Italy 152 The Bahamas 40
Canada 146 Suriname 38
Germany 142

All of the Caribbean countries listed are the youngest of the 26 borrowing member countries. In what ways do you think being such young nations can postiviely impact our rate of development and positioning in the world economy?

 Michael Nelson is a Country Coordinator based at the IDB’s Washington, DC headquarters.

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