You are here
Warning for ECCU countries
WASHINGTON DC—A senior economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is warning member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) that they face similar challenges now confronting the eurozone countries. Alfred Schipke, formerly of the IMF Western Hemisphere Division, said the ECCU, maybe the smallest of three economic and currency unions worldwide, bringing together eight small islands, whose total combined population is less than a million.
Schipke has edited a new book on the ECCU and in an interview posted on the IMF Web site, said the member countries of the union—Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat and Anguilla—all have many similarities, including the same colonial history.
“In terms of the benefits given the small size of these countries it allows these countries to take advantage of sustained economies. It also allows them to what we call diversify risk, one country gets hit by shock or hurricane then they can pool resources and deal with those shocks more effectively. “But most importantly because of the size of the islands they can provide at the regional level, more cost effective public services (and) that’s the major benefit.”
He said what does matter is that if those countries speak with one voice they can have better representation at the global level. “Interestingly enough, the Eastern Caribbean Currency and economic Union is actually a microcosm of the European Economic and Monetary Union since it has been faced by rising fiscal deficit, unsustainable debt levels in a number of states, a lack of fiscal integration and challenges in the financial sector that are threatening the underpinnings of the union.
“Just like in the European Currency Union overcoming these challenges are particularly difficult in monetary unions,” he said, adding “sometimes you need a crisis to implement reforms. Asked what would be some policy recommendations for long-term growth in the region, Schipke said there is need for generating conditions for strong sustainable growth which he noted is paramount in the Eastern Caribbean.
He said another issue is that tourism has been a major contributor to economic growth in the region and while “there is some potential for future growth in this particular area in other service areas”, the new growth model for the region will have to rely more on the private sector.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.