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IMF to host forum on low growth, high debt in Caribbean
As Trinidad and Tobago braces for a 2013 fiscal year that promises little or no economic growth and a continuation of fiscal deficits, this country will play host to seven finance ministers, and four central bank governors from the Caribbean when an international meeting on economic policy in the Caribbean convenes in Port-of-Spain next week. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Caribbean Development Bank, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Finance and the Economy will host a “high level forum” to address “low growth and high debt in the Caribbean” on Tuesday and Wednesday, the IMF said in a statement released late Wednesday evening. Under the theme “Rethinking Policy,” the de facto summit of half of Caricom’s finance ministers will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Portof- Spain.
On the two-day agenda, finance ministers from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda are scheduled to speak. The governors of the central banks of Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Eastern Caribbean are also carded to speak. Deputy Managing Director of the IMF Min Zhu, who is also a former deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, will be the main speaker on the opening day of the forum. CDB President Warren Smith and T&T Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran will precede him. Zhu is one of four deputy managing directors at the IMF. In its statement the IMF said this forum “aims to further the debate on economic policy in the Caribbean and challenges in a regional context. It will discuss lessons from the past and develop concrete proposals for how to tackle these daunting challenges more decisively.
It will also discuss the implications of the distinctive challenges of recent global developments.” The conference will also draw on expertise of Professor Victor Bulmer- Thomas, an emeritus professor at London University. He will deliver a keynote address on “Restoring Export-Led Growth in the Caribbean.” Bank of Latvia Governor Ilmars Rimsevics will share “Latvia’s experience” with attendees, and Secretary General of Ireland’s Department of Finance John Moran will be one of the discussants on the topic of creating a “Sustainable Fiscal Policy and How to Lower Debt,” the IMF said in the programme it released. Both countries have success stories to tell about economic growth and lowering foreign debt. Other topics include economic challenges facing the region, stabilisation and growth in small and very open economies, a regional approach to the financial sector, supervisory challenges in the Caribbean, and the role of the international community and the IMF. The conference will end with a communique and a press conference hosted by the CDB president and the IMF deputy managing director. The conference is by invitation only.
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