Caribbean felt full brunt of climate change in 2017

Dominica hurricane

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados,  CMC – In 2017, the Caribbean felt the full brunt of climate change with a warning that current trends indicate that there will be no respite.

Within a two-week period, Hurricanes Irma and Maria brought home the reality of the impact of climate change as they churned their way across the Lesser Antilles destroying everything in their paths. Hurricane Harvey had in August set the stage for what was to come; with devastation in Houston, Texas, amounting to nearly US$200billion.

“The unprecedented nature of this climatic event highlights the unusual nature of weather patterns that continue to affect nations across the globe,” the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said in a message to United States President Donald Trump, as Harvey made landfall in the United States after whipping up strong winds and heavy rains in the Caribbean.

It took less than a month for his statement to bear fruit. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 storms left so many Caribbean islands devastated in September that the CARICOM Chairman and Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said “there can be no question that for us in the Caribbean, climate change is an existential threat”. (more…)

IMF willing to help hurricane-ravaged Caribbean countries — Lagarde

IMF-Andrew 1KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, says her organisation is willing to help the Caribbean countries severely affected by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“The IMF stands ready to do whatever it can to help in those situations — in assessing macroeconomic implications, determining financing needs, and providing financial support that would also help catalyse broader financing from the rest of the international community,” she said.

Lagarde was speaking at the opening session of the Sixth IMF High Level Caribbean Forum held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston today.

She noted that emergency relief following events like hurricanes is a key responsibility of the global community.

More: Jamaica Observer

Economic recovery gaining ground in OECS – IMF

WASHINGTON, CMC – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says economic recovery in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) is gaining ground, supported by continued low oil prices, strong tourism arrivals, and robust citizenship-by-investment receipts.

OECS FlagThe IMF said that three failed banks have been resolved with no spillovers to the rest of the region and fiscal management has improved.

The ECCU includes Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat and Anguilla.

The IMF said that it welcomed the progress in the ECCU in addressing key challenges and the regional economic recovery, and that risks to the near term outlook are balanced, but growth in the ECCU continues to be hindered by weak competitiveness, banking sector fragilities, susceptibility to natural disasters, and large public debt.

Via CMC (more…)

IMF concludes visit to Haiti

A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Mr. Gabriel Di Bella visited Port-au-Prince, Haiti during November 3–7, 2014, to complete discussions for the eighth and final review under the 2010 Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.1 The mission met with Minister of Economy and Finance Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie, Governor of the Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH) Charles Castel, other senior government officials, representatives of the private sector, and development partners. At the end of the visit, Mr. Di Bella issued the following statement:

Preliminary data for fiscal year 2014 (i.e. October 2013–September 2014) suggest that economic activity (as measured by gross domestic product, GDP), advanced in line with projections, at a pace of about 3½–4 percent. Inflation remained low, at around 5 percent. The fiscal deficit was lower than programmed but remained high, in part due to costly fuel subsidies. Monetary policy was adequately geared towards protecting reserves while ensuring a low and stable inflation.

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US wants IMF to cancel debt of Ebola-stricken countries

The United States on Tuesday proposed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) write off some US$100 million in debt it is owed by Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to free up more resources for those countries, the hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak.

The debt relief should enable the three impoverished West African countries to spend more on government services and to support their economies as they cope with the devastating epidemic, US Treasury officials told Reuters.

The countries now owe the IMF a combined US$372 million, of which $55 million comes due over the next two years, officials said on condition of anonymity.

Read more at Reuters