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CDB president says priority attention needed in key areas to transform regional economies

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Georgetown Guyana July 1: Professor Compton Bourne, President of the Caribbean Development Bank, is urging priority attention to “supply-side” constraints to structural transformation of regional economies, which he has identified as critical in the Region, now facing a new era after years of access to preferential markets.

Supply-side is a description of economic policies that promote conditions favouring the producers of goods and services.

In the area of Agriculture, Prof. Bourne urges development of domestic producers as suppliers of the tourism industry; development of a regional market policy on agriculture which creates opportunities for sugar, citrus, and other agricultural products; ensuring that aid and trade agreements do not dump heavily-subsidized food products on the Caribbean Market; and a land distribution policy consistent with the creation of economically viable and attractive commercial farms.

In the area of Tourism, he recommends priority attention for the development of regional tourism as a new high-growth component of the industry; development of the small hotel sub-sector, and of cultural, historical and nature tourism.

In Transport and Communication, the CDB President recommends the development of marine transportation to remove constraints on regional trade and to improve and widen transportation choices in tourism. Further, he proposes the development of associated marine industries and the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to internationally competitive levels.

In Energy, the recommendations include the pursuit of policies of energy substitution, e.g. natural gas for petroleum, to substantially lower energy costs and to gain price advantages in production and other industries. In Labour, Prof. Bourne recommends the creation of an institutional framework supportive of regional labour mobility, to foster efficiency and increase regional production capacity.

These recommendations were among the many expert contributions to Caribbean Connect, a three-day, high level Symposium, which took place inBarbados, under the patronage of Barbados Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, Head of Government with responsibility for matters relating to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.

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