Archive for June 2014

PPP’s are a hot topic… but are they the panacea for sustainable growth?


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by Ruth Houliston

486px-Globe_(PSF)Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Author & User Pearson Scott Foresman

On 19th & 20th November, approximately 170 senior civil servants from across the region,[1] representatives from a range of donor agencies and regional/international PPP practitioners gathered at the Barbados Hilton Resort to attend the Caribbean PPP Forum: Public Private Partnerships for Sustainable Growth. The event was co-sponsored by Caribbean Development Bank; IDB Group; and World Bank Group.

The purpose of the forum was to share knowledge on using PPPs to develop sustainable, productive and inclusive infrastructure and basic services in the Caribbean, while at the same time protecting important assets against environmental risks, including climate change and generating new PPP business opportunities related to climate change.

First of all, what is exactly is a Public-Private Partnership, better known as by the snazzy acronym of PPP? Well, there is no one overarching definition, but Public private partnerships (PPPs) are arrangements between government and private sector entities for the purpose of providing public infrastructure and related services. PPPs are characterized by the sharing of investment, risk, responsibility and reward between partners.[2]

So ….what did we learn – are PPPs the panacea for sustainable growth…?? > Read more

Disability – A parent’s perspective


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by Charmaine Edmondson-Nelson

blog illustration-01Illustration by Jonathan K. Nelson

My last child, the baby of the family, turns 15 this year. In many ways he is the baby of family, as he still gets hugs and kisses and his actions still elicit oohs and aahs. You see, my son has a neurodevelopmental disorder, so although 14 years old, he is at the intellectual level of a 4 year old. Every new word he learns, every concept grasped and any increased awareness of the world around him is a moment of joy for the family.

The biggest joy is that there is always some progress, which gives us hope and drives us to continue trying new approaches. Over his 14 years he has attended six schools, each contributing to some aspect of his development.  He has benefited from speech therapy, occupational therapy, listening therapy, ABA, brain-balance therapy and nutrient supplementation.  At various stages in his development, he has been assessed by different professionals – Developmental Pediatrician, Speech Pathologist, Neurologists, Audiologist, Clinical and Educational Psychologists. He is currently in a therapeutic programme, based on the science of neuroplasticity and we are seeing positive results.

But what of the parent who does not have the resources and the networks to access these kinds on interventions? > Read more

Investing Strategically: Tying the Budget to the Vision in the Bahamas


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by Wilshire Bethel

photoThe new Baha Mar development, photo by Wilshire Bethel

In 2015, the Bahamian people will articulate the Nation’s first ever cross-sectorial National Development Plan. This plan, penned by the people through widespread consultation, will put to paper their collective vision as to what life in The Bahamas will look like in the decades to come. It is a necessary step for the nation, which, like many of its neighbors in the Caribbean, continues to search for new avenues of economic diversification in the face of declining growth prospects in recent years. In 2013 for instance, the IMF slashed growth projections in Real GDP from 2.7% to 1.9%, a revision which has actually proven overly-optimistic in light of recent data from the Department of Statistics which charted growth of only 0.67% during the same period.

Compounding this dégringolade in growth, an alarming ‘Debt-to-GDP’ ratio of 66% puts an even greater emphasis on the need for more strategic investment of public funds into those priority sectors with the highest potential for growth, job creation and developmental ROI. The articulation of a National Development Plan is the first real step in outlining these priority sectors. > Read more

Sports Fishing Project Preserving Guyana’s Natural Resources


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by Louise Armstrong

rupununi gy 1 copyPhotos courtesy of Costa Del Mar and Lesley De Souza.

In the rivers and ponds of Guyana’s unspoiled rain forest, there is a place where sport fishing can help preserve the country’s natural resources and culture by supporting its indigenous peoples in a responsible way.

This Sports Fishing Cluster project was launched by Compete Caribbean this month to support a cluster of eco-lodges in the North Rupununi of Guyana to develop and promote their tourism offerings over the next two years.
The Rupununi natives have been consciously developing themselves over the years into an innovative and eco-friendly experiential tourism model that provides opportunities for men and women from 16 Amerindian communities. The names of the eco-lodges are Rewa, Surama, and Karanambu.

One of the challenges they have been seeking to address is the lack of opportunities for viable and legal livelihoods, particularly for men, within the interior of Guyana. The area has seen a trend of men migrating out of their communities, whether temporarily or permanently, which is highly disruptive to their families and communities. This cluster created the concept of a single Rupununi experience for travelers that would be underpinned by the specialty offerings of the lodges, and in that way offer increased opportunities for men to earn income and stay at home. > Read more

Unlocking Human Imagination: Who Drives Innovation?


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by Kamau Joseph

In the 2013-2014 World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report, out of the English-speaking Caribbean, the three countries with the highest global competitiveness rankings included Barbados (47), Trinidad and Tobago (92) and Jamaica (94). Interestingly enough, when it came to placing countries into different stages of development (an adaptation of Michael Porter’s theory of stages), Trinidad and Tobago was the only English-speaking Caribbean country along with 36 other countries placed in the final stage of development, the innovation-driven stage. > Read more

Is There a Caribbean Sclerosis? Stagnating Economic Growth in the Caribbean


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by CaribEconomics Team

book cover

The Inter-American Development Bank’s Caribbean Economics Team is pleased to present Is There a Caribbean Sclerosis? Stagnating Economic Growth in the Caribbean.

This report, which 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? 


The report attributes the poor performance to a wide range of possible explanations: lower factor inputs (labour and capital) and total factor productivity, inferior competitiveness, worse institutional quality, weaker private sector, greater macroeconomic instability, tougher economic and geographical neighborhood, and frustrated regional integration agenda. The Caribbean performs worse than other small economies do in practically all of these factors. Hence, it is not size that accounts for the Caribbean’s relatively poor economic performance. Instead, there appears to be a generalized sclerotic effect on institutions and policy. This conclusion has troublesome implications: policy inaction may be due to the powerful few who may lose out under reforms even though many may gain, that is, there is an economically and politically powerful alliance against policy changes.

Nonetheless, the report considers two possible policy options in the context of the world economic outlook. One option is to “let it be,” which entails waiting for world economic recovery to pull up Caribbean economic growth. However, the report notes that in the early seventies, the Caribbean’s real gross domestic product per capita was four times larger than that of other small economies. Today, it is slightly less, and forecasts suggest that the relative decline will continue under the “let it be” option. The alternative option is to “cross the Rubicon” which entails engaging in a process of stabilization and structural reform directed toward higher and more sustainable economic growth. Such an option has to not only overcome vested interests in the status quo but also be tailored to each country.

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by Guest blogger, Elvis Fuentes 


As part of IDB Cultural Center’s Caribbean focus, we present an exhibit of art from the region dealing with the impact of popular visual culture and creativity in its economy. It has long been held that  art was not an economically sound activity. Today many make a living of making art, whether selling graffiti paintings on canvas or tattooing rich and famous celebrities.


In the financial world, “flow” is linked to cash revenues. On the other hand, in the urban dictionary “flow” refers to the rapper’s ability to rhyme in a skillful manner; it’s an aesthetic quality that denotes mastery of improvisation, which often turns into prestige. That’s why we selected this term as the title of the exhibit, to highlight the importance of creative culture in the development of dynamic economies. > Read more

Do we learn more when we make mistakes?


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by Arturo Galindo 

CIA_map_of_the_CaribbeanPhoto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Author, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

In 2013 the Inter-American Development Bank financed 168 projects for a total of 14 billion dollars. Every day we ask ourselves if our projects are contributing to the well-being of the people in the region. If our projects failed or succeeded or if the information and methods with which we try to measure the gains or losses are rigorous and, of course, accurate.

These are some of the questions we try to answer with our “Development Effectiveness Overview” report. The IDB’s flagship report produced to show the results and impact of our work in Latin American and the Caribbean. > Read more

Searching for Gold, Finding…Malaria?


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By Maria Fernanda Garcia and Ian Ho-A-Shu


The hunt for buried treasure has long and infamously yielded fortune andmisfortune in the same fell swoop. From Jason and the Argonauts’ haunting search for the Golden Fleece, to the 49ers’ mad rush to a then far-off and forbidding California, the search for gold continues to prove simultaneously fruitful and hazardous for those mining below the surface.

Today, a look at mining in Suriname reveals that the men gone to search for treasure often come back with much more than they bargained for. What are we referring to? Malaria. A potent and under-discussed disease that still runs through our region, we encourage you to learn more about efforts against it for this past World Malaria Day. > Read more

Haiti’s Hidden Treasures


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By Guest blogger, Natasha Kate Ward

photo 2Photo by Natasha Kate Ward 

When I tell people I work as an environmental specialist on projects in Haiti, I get some confused reactions. Surely – I am asked – a country that it is focused on rebuilding houses and schools, tackling the challenges of health and education, and creating new economic opportunities and jobs, is not thinking about protecting mangrove forests and coral reefs.

photo 1Photo by Natasha Kate Ward 


natasha > Read more

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

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