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St. Vincent PM Says Caribbean State Needs Aid To Manage Climate Change

KINGSTOWN — St. Vincent and the Grenadines will not be able to manage the growing impact of climate change without the assistance of multilateral lenders, the prime minister said in an interview.

Unusually heavy rains added to destruction wrought by a series of volcanic eruptions this year, forcing the relocation of 20,000 of the country’s 110,000 inhabitants, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told Reuters.

Shifting weather patterns between 2010 and 2015 caused damage equivalent an entire year’s GDP — close to $800 million — to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a chain of 32 islands in the eastern Caribbean.

“We have had to repair, rebuild dozens of bridges, hundreds of houses. I mean, it’s a tremendous loss,” said Gonsalves in the capital Kingstown last week, referring to unusual weather patterns in recent years.

“We just can’t cope with climate change unless we get multilateral assistance.”

Eruptions at the La Soufriere volcano in April, which covered buildings and cars with a thick layer of ash, were immediately followed by torrential rains, requiring some residents to be permanently evacuated due to the risk that rivers may shift course.

“Things have been so devastating to the 20,000 persons who had to leave the river to evacuate,” said Gonsalves. “We still have to be providing social safety net support for them.”

The World Bank in April provided $20 million to help the response to the eruptions.

Gonsalves said small countries still need greater financial commitment from developed nations, whose economies have been the world’s principal drivers of carbon dioxide emissions.

At the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last month, rich nations targeted providing $100 billion annually in climate financing for developing nations, a pledge they have not been able to keep in the past.

“That hundred billion dollars is not enough … because it is the world’s less developed countries you’re talking about and the amount of the spoilage is phenomenal,” he said.

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Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Economic Growth Picture For Caribbean Is Cloudy At Best After COVID-19 Outbreak

SAN JUAN — The economic growth outlook for Central America and the Caribbean is restrained by multiple interrelated factors, mostly due to dependence on the external economic environment.

As global growth is poised to contract in 2020, regional growth stands to severely contract as well. In this research,the publisher analyzes the macroeconomic outlook for Puerto Rico, Panama, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guam, El Salvador, and Honduras through the year 2027.

What factors will drive the region’s growth for the next six years? What stands to stymie growth prospects during this time? The study provides insights into the regional growth drivers and restraints from 2020 to 2027. This is a forward-looking macroeconomic assessment of elements such as GDP growth, inflation, monetary policy, and unemployment covering the 2016 to 2027 period.

Are corruption and drug-related violence still a major deterrent to investments in the region? Will fund misappropriation limit the region’s ability to respond to the ongoing health crisis? The study puts in perspective the political backdrop against which economic elements operate. Likewise, the study isolates the key macroeconomic implication of the COVID-19 pandemic for each country.

Major global trends such as the decline in tourism-related activities and the rise in global unemployment, especially in North America, severely limit the region’s outlook for the near-term. The study offers an in-depth exploration of the push for diversification across the region and among industries that will consequently see an increase in investment incentives.

Based on a detailed assessment of the macroeconomic situation, the publisher determines growth opportunities for businesses in this region that could be leveraged. The study highlights the key strategic imperatives that will ensure growth in Central America and the Caribbean.

Key Issues Addressed

  • What is the GDP growth outlook for Central American and the Caribbean economies?
  • What is the political outlook for these economies?
  • How will these economies be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • How much is inflation expected to fluctuate?
  • What is the monetary policy stance of these countries?
  • How high is the unemployment rate expected to climb?
  • How will regional trade be impacted?
  • What are some of the growth opportunities that businesses can leverage?

Key Topics Covered:

1. Strategic Imperatives

  • Why Is It Increasingly Difficult to Grow?
  • The Strategic Imperative 
  • The Impact of the Top Three Strategic Imperatives on Central America and the Caribbean

2. Growth Opportunities Fuel the Growth Pipeline Engine

  • Growth Opportunity Analysis – Central America and the Caribbean
  • Central America and the Caribbean Macroeconomic Overview
  • Key Economic Growth Metrics
  • Central America and the Caribbean: Economic Trends and Predictions
  • Economic Growth Drivers in Central America and the Caribbean
  • Economic Growth Restraints in Central America and the Caribbean

3. Macroeconomic Key Takeaways

  • Puerto Rico: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • Panama: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • Jamaica: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • Costa Rica: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • Dominican Republic: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • Guatemala: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • Guam: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • El Salvador: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways
  • Honduras: Macroeconomic Key Takeaways

4. Puerto Rico: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Puerto Rico: Political Analysis
  • Puerto Rico: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Puerto Rico: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Puerto Rico: Labor Market Outlook
  • Puerto Rico: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

5. Panama: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Panama: Political Analysis
  • Panama: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Panama: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Panama: Labor Market Outlook
  • Panama: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

6. Jamaica: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Jamaica: Political Analysis
  • Jamaica: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Jamaica: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Jamaica: Labor Market Outlook
  • Jamaica: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

7. Trinidad and Tobago: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Trinidad and Tobago: Political Analysis
  • Trinidad and Tobago: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Labor Market Outlook
  • Trinidad and Tobago: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

8. Costa Rica: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Costa Rica: Political Analysis
  • Costa Rica: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Costa Rica: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Costa Rica: Labor Market Outlook
  • Costa Rica: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

9. Dominican Republic: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Dominican Republic: Political Analysis
  • Dominican Republic: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Dominican Republic: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Dominican Republic: Labor Market Outlook
  • Dominican Republic: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

10. Guatemala: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Guatemala: Political Analysis
  • Guatemala: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Guatemala: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Guatemala: Labor Market Outlook
  • Guatemala: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

11. Guam: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Guam: Political Analysis
  • Guam: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Guam: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Guam: Labor Market Outlook
  • Guam: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

12. El Salvador: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • El Salvador: Political Analysis
  • El Salvador: GDP Growth Outlook
  • El Salvador: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • El Salvador: Labor Market Outlook
  • El Salvador: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

13. Honduras: Macroeconomic Outlook

  • Honduras: Political Analysis
  • Honduras: GDP Growth Outlook
  • Honduras: Inflation and Interest Rate Outlook
  • Honduras- Labor Market Outlook
  • Honduras: COVID-19 Macroeconomic Implications

14. Growth Opportunity Universe – Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Growth Opportunity 1: Nearshoring to Raise Regional Production Opportunities, 2020
  • Growth Opportunity 2: Leverage the Expansionary Monetary Policy for Post-COVID-19 Recovery, 2020
  • Growth Opportunity 3: Expedited Adoption of Electric Vehicles, 2020
  • Growth Opportunity 4: Rise in Used Car Sales, 2020
  • Growth Opportunity 5: Economic Diversification Opens Opportunities in New Industries, 2020

15. Next Steps

Countries Covered

  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Guam
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Panama
  • Puerto Rico
  • Trinidad and Tobago
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Agriculture At A Crossroads In Caribbean And Latin America: World Bank Study

BRIDGETOWN — Agriculture and food systems in Latin America and the Caribbean Region (LAC) stand at a crossroads. The declining visibility to public policy makers of farming and ranching in the rapidly urbanizing region has contributed to the perception that agriculture has diminished in importance and that attention can safely shift to other priorities.

This perception is misguided: the role played by agriculture has not diminished. On the contrary, agriculture and food systems make vital contributions to a diverse set of development objectives, including growth, poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, and climate resilience. As this report highlights, the forces shaping the evolution of agriculture and food systems in LAC are creating exciting opportunities to promote transformational changes, the effects of which will be felt at multiple levels: nationally, regionally, and globally.

What happens in LAC agriculture and food systems matters for economies within the region, but it also matters worldwide. LAC agriculture and food systems are the source of two important global public goods. First, LAC is the world’s largest net food-exporting region, and LAC agricultural exports help to stabilize food supplies and reduce food price volatility worldwide. In early 2020, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sparked an unprecedented humanitarian and economic crisis that devastated lives and livelihoods worldwide. The crisis put more than a quarter of a billion people around the world at risk of suffering acute hunger within 12 months, including hundreds of millions in LAC who fell into poverty and suffered devastating socio-economic consequences. Disruptions to global food supplies linked to the COVID-19 pandemic drew attention to the importance of LAC as a major net exporter of food and pointed to new opportunities for promoting greater intra-regional economic cooperation, in terms of production, trade and technology. Second, LAC is the world’s largest provider of ecosystem services. The Amazon basin, the forests of Central America, and other biomes in the Andean region and in the Southern Cone host vast stores of biodiversity, sequester huge amounts of carbon, and perform atmospheric regulatory functions that affect weather patterns worldwide. LAC will continue to produce these two global public goods only if the region’s agriculture and food systems evolve in ways that avoid threatening them and that capitalize on opportunities. If the complex tradeoffs between growing the economy, reducing poverty, feeding the population, improving nutrition, safeguarding human health, and preserving natural capital are not managed successfully in LAC, the cost to humanity will be extremely high.

1.1 Objectives of the report

The purpose of this report is to improve understanding of the transformational opportunities offered by LAC’s agriculture and food systems to contribute to growth, employment, and food and nutrition security while sustaining the region’s natural capital endowments and helping to mitigate climate change. This will be achieved by describing how demand- and supply-side forces are transforming LAC’s agriculture and food systems, exploring how long-term trends and short-term disruptors could affect future performance, and identifying measures that policy makers can take to facilitate the emergence of dynamic modern agriculture and food systems capable of performing the multiple functions that are expected of them.

The report is forward-looking: it adopts a long-term perspective and considers a time horizon up to 2030. The time line was chosen to extend far enough into the future to allow for the sector’s potential transformation in the region, factoring in the impact of ongoing trends and potential disruptions, but not so far as to lie beyond the sight line of today’s policy makers. The chosen horizon, furthermore, aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda set forth by the United Nations for the global community to meet in the coming decades, which identifies specific targets to be met by 2030. The alignment is appropriate, because the future performance of LAC agriculture and food systems will directly influence the achievement of (or failure to achieve) a number of SDGs, due to the impact of agriculture and food systems on growth, employment, food and nutrition security, and the environment.

1.2 Organization of the report

Including the introduction, the report contains six sections. Section 2 takes stock of the recent performance of LAC agriculture and food systems, briefly summarizing the contribution of these systems to a diverse set of development objectives including growth, job creation, food and nutrition security, and ecosystem sustainability. Section 3 considers the governance of LAC agriculture and food systems, assessing the effectiveness of public policies and supporting investments to achieve desired performance outcomes. Section 4 discusses the drivers that shape the evolution of agriculture and food systems, distinguishing between trends (slow-moving demographic, technological, and economic forces whose impacts will be felt gradually) and disruptors (fast-moving and often unexpected forces, such as technology breakthroughs or policy changes, that could lead to rapid change). Section 5 examines the road ahead, using scenario analysis to consider how future performance outcomes could be affected by the various drivers. Section 6 describes a series of proposed actions that can shape the transformation of agriculture and food systems to achieve outcomes that align with society’s long-term goals and offers some final thoughts about the road ahead.

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Sex Tourism Capital of the Caribbean, The Dominican Republic, Also Leads The Region In The Number of Child Brides

Sex Tourism Capital of the Caribbean, The Dominican Republic, Also Leads The Region In The Number of Child BridesPAID TO PLAY: Local girls enjoy a youth group meeting about sexual reproductive health in their community, Batey Yaco, on the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

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SANTO DOMINGO — UNICEF says more than one in 10 girls in the Dominican Republic are married or living with a partner before their 15th birthday, a figure that gives the country the highest rate of child marriage in the Americas.

Rosa Elcarte, UNICEF representative in the country, says that 11.7 per cent of women currently between 18 and 22 years old reported that they had married or lived with a man before they turned 15, the minimum age of sexual consent and marriage.

“This is incredibly tragic,” Elcarte says. She says the rate of child marriage in the Dominican Republic is similar to that in some sub-Saharan African nations.

A third of women in the Dominican Republic marry before the age of 18, according to a World Bank study.