Growth in ECCU Economies Demonstrates Resilience

Despite experiencing a challenging end to 2017, the member states of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) are expected to welcome at least 2.2 percent growth in 2018. The projections were announced after the
90th meeting of the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), which was held on the island of St Kitts on 16 February. At the meeting, it was reported that the ECCU “remained resilient following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017, which resulted in an estimated slower growth rate of 2.3 percent in 2017.”
Further positive news came from ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine, who noted that 2.2 percent was a conservative estimate, and that some jurisdictions in the ECCU would exceed this number. “A big part has to do with implementation of some of the capital projects that are planned in those budgets and when they actually get implemented [they] will have an effect on the actual rate,” specified Governor Antoine.
Achieving economic transformation in the Caribbean is one of the aims of the ECCB, as detailed in its Strategic Plan for 2017-2021. Indeed, the ECCB aims both to maintain financial strength and stability, and to drive development and growth.
One of the largest contributors to economic growth in the Caribbean is tourism, as can be witnessed in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis. Here, demand for overnight stay has spurred the construction of luxury developments, such as Caribbean’s first Park Hyatt. Coupled with the Federation’s natural beauty, this has earned the nation a spot on Bloomberg Businessweek’s ‘Where to Go in 2018.’
Another key driver of development is green energy. Dominica, for example, has pledged to become the world’s first climate resilient country, backing initiatives such as geothermal energy and other ecosystem-based solutions that will allow the country to become better prepared for tumultuous weather changes, incorporate sustainability, and provide space for economic growth.
Unsurprisingly, the Monetary Council determined that growth “projections pointed to an acceleration in 2019.” This conclusion underscores regional confidence in the economy of the Caribbean and in its ability to show resilience and adapt to today’s challenges.