Economists warn the region likely to grow only marginally for a while yet

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The Caribbean region is unlikely to see a return of high growth rates in the near future. That is according to the Head of the Management Studies Department at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Justin Robinson.

Speaking on the Big Issues programme, Robinson warned the region may well be forced to cope with low growth rate for a number of years yet.

“I think for a while we really benefitted a lot from that wave of international capital that came into our markets from people doing a lot of property investments; however that has slowed to a trickle and tourists are spending less.

“The big challenge is where we are going to get that growth from. In Barbados they are really betting heavily on alternative energy as a new industry that can add a new level of growth,” Robinson said.

“I think for the next couple of years we can really be stuck with quite a low growth market mainly because our source markets are themselves going to be in slow growth and I’m not sure there’s much we can do about that,” he added.

The UWI lecturer suggested tapping into alternative forms of energy as one option to stimulate the regional economy.

“I think productivity in the region and looking at new exciting sectors like alternative energy are areas we are going to have to explore,” Robinson said.

Local economist and former banking supervisor at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Morvin Williams believes a turnaround in Caribbean economies is possible but not before both consumer and investor confidence improve.

“Confidence from consumers and investors not only domestically but internationally is really low and until investors are confident about what’s happening in the macro economy then you’re not going to experience any major spending by either sector,” Williams said.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)

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