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Is the Bahamas Affected by the “Caribbean Sclerosis?”

In collaboration with the College of The Bahamas, the Caribbean Economics Team of the Inter-American Development Bank organized a presentation on the macro-report, ‘Is there a Caribbean Sclerosis?’ which took place on June 26th, 2014. The report ‘comprehensively addresses the issue of poor economic growth in the Caribbean, is structured around the following key questions: Does the country’s size matter for economic growth and volatility? What could account for the Caribbean growth gap? Which economic policies might decision-makers adopt to promote higher and sustainable economic growth?’

bahamas3IDB Regional Economic Advisor, Inder Ruprah speaking, Photo by Natalie Bethel

On behalf of the team, Regional Economic Advisor to the Caribbean Department of the Inter-American Development Bank, Mr. Inder Ruprah, gave a presentation at the Harry C. Moore Library, College of The Bahamas. The crowd was diverse, including faculty and students from The College of The Bahamas, the private sector, government agencies and NGO’s, which allowed for an interesting and dynamic audience during the Q&A session. Questions included: how the challenge of obtaining micro data and statistics can be addressed; what the impact of shale gas would be on The Bahamas; whether the IDB was a contributor to the deteriorating economic situation in The Bahamas.

The IDB’s Civil Society Consultative Group (ConSOC) also had an opportunity to discuss the report in its last meeting held in June. Issues raised by ConSOC members included the perception of ‘low productivity’, the need to consider social differences amongst the countries under study, and prescriptions for creating an enabling environment for the country, and in particular, a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

bahamas4Country Economist, Mrs. Cherran O’Brien gives the Vote of Thanks to the College and the audience,
Photo by Natalie Bethel

bahamas1Country Representative, Astrid Wynter, Photo by Natalie Bethel

The report was well received by the public, giving Mr. Ruprah the opportunity to undertake a series of television, newspaper and radio interviews, along with a book signing which took place on June 27 at the Chapter One Book Store. Mr. Ruprah left the audience with two scenarios: i) to wait for a global recovery, GODOT, in the hope that such a recovery will pull the countries out of their stagnations or ii) to cross the RUBICON, that is, to engage in policy reforms directed toward improved and more sustainable economic growth. We look forward to Mr. Ruprah’s return, where we hope that once the book has been thoroughly read through by the Bahamian public, a follow-up discussion and presentation can be made – If there is a Caribbean Sclerosis, is The Bahamas immune?

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