Caribbean Special Report: Castles Made of Sand

Sep 1, 2008

The Caribbean struggles to reach critical mass to attract investors as insularities among members persist. The world economic downturn erodes tourism, an economic pillar for the region.

Keywords: Caribbean integration macroeconomy

by Julio Urdaneta

Small, dispersed and plagued with structural problems, the Caribbean is anxious to gain critical mass in world markets. Although some progress has been made, lack of common perspective and deep structural differences between member states mar ambitions of economic unity.

“While commitments have been made, the different political structure of the member countries and the disparities of income and quality of life remain the main challenges for integration,” says Olga Kalinina, Caribbean analyst at S&P.

Countries like Jamaica, which carries a ball and chain of elevated debt, violence and inflation, contrast with dynamic economies like Trinidad and Tobago, which is boosted by high prices of hydrocarbons and other commodities. With so many financial, macroeconomic and cultural differences, efforts through the Caricom common market bloc to establish a solid economic base continue to disappoint.

Created in 1973, Caricom seeks the achievement of a greater economic leverage and effectiveness...

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