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Building Economic Resilience - Stabilisation and Sustainable Economic Growth and Development
Current analyses predict that difficult economic times may persist for several Member States over the planning period to 2019. Because of this and the Region’s other vulnerabilities, Building Economic Resilience will be primary among the six Strategic Priorities, enabled by all others. This Priority will focus on creating an enabling environment for stabilization and transitioning to growth of the economies of Member States viz,
Accelerating implementation and use of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy;
Integration into the Global Economy;
Introducing Measures for Macroeconomic Stabilisation;
Building Competitiveness and Unleashing Key Economic Drivers to Transition to Growth.
ECN 1- Accelerate Implementation and Use of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy – The fundamental rational for implementing the CSME, is to achieve sustained economic development based on international competitiveness and coordinated economic policies and enhanced trade and economic relations with Third States. The CSME is intended to inter alia, provide larger market opportunities; take advantage of greater economies of scale; stimulate increased competitiveness; and increase opportunities for investment. This strategy will address:
(a). Full implementation of the five regimes1 under the CSM (e.g. advancing free movement of Community Nationals and free movement of Skilled Community Nationals in keeping with Articles 45 and 46 of the Revised Treaty; with a focus on youth and emerging skills) and advancing the macro-economic policy agenda to support production, growth and development including:
Market integration and removing barriers and gaining compliance across all Member States with the various arrangements;
Harmonisation of the legislative and regulatory environment to enhance/enable regional integration as per Article 74 of the Revised Treaty;
Advancement of other areas under Article 239 e.g. electronic commerce;
Macroeconomic convergence and policy coordination and harmonization;
(b) Address the constraints to intra-regional trade with a view to increasing the level of intra-CARICOM trade beyond the current level which presently accounts for between 13% to 16% of total intra-regional trade;
(c) Promotion for increased utilization of CSME arrangements by target beneficiaries;
(d) Fuller participation by the private sector especially for produc
ECN 2 - Integrate into the Global Economy (enhanced Trade and Investment);
Position the Region to meet the challenges and opportunities of the changing global environment and to achieve one of the objectives articulated in the Revised Treaty, namely the expansion of trade and economic relations with third states. The strategies will therefore be to:
(a) Attract foreign direct investment through promotion of joint ventures and public private partnerships;
(b) Address the conditions/factors for creating an enabling environment to facilitate the private sector taking advantage of the opportunities presented under the Trade Agreements which CARICOM has concluded with third countries, as well as to expand trade generally to all countries.
ECN 3 – Introduce Measures for Macroeconomic Stabilisation – which will include addressing financial stability and debt management in Member States and establishing an advisory mechanism for Member States on debt management – as proposed by the CARICOM Commission on the Economy.
The CARICOM Commission on the Economy in its Preliminary Report (February 2014) has proposed Immediate-term and Medium-term programme of action as follows: Immediate-term: Macro-economic stability, specifically fiscal sustainability and the management of the domestic and external debt; promoting a conducive environment for private sector growth and development; formulation of a proactive resource mobilization strategy. Medium-term: defining a production integration model for the Community with supportive frameworks for trade facilitation and finance; and addressing 'labour market issues' within the context of the CARICOM production integration model; determining a regional public private partnership model along with a set of regional public goods in respect of the targeted sectors;
ECN 4 – Build Competitiveness and Unleash Key Economic Drivers to Transition to Growth and Generate Employment - Enabling a Competitive Business Environment within the Region through promoting and enabling research and development, innovation, ICT and entrepreneurship (special emphasis on youth entrepreneurship); promoting productivity and the social dimensions of labour in collaboration with labour representatives; and stimulating and creating an enabling environment for the private sector, particularly the regulatory environment to enhance intra-regional and external trade2 example:
(a) Harmonization and simplification of business regulations and processes in Member States and in the Community, including advancing work on the Single Jurisdiction for the Registration and Incorporation of Companies (within the CSME arrangements);
(b) Establishing a framework for engagement and partnership with the private sector.
Unleash Key Economic Growth Drivers viz,
(a) Creative, Manufacturing and Services Industries - with an emphasis on Tourism Services in the immediate term (initiatives recommended by the CARICOM Commission on the Economy). Also this strategy will build on the preparation of strategic plans for the following service industry sectors: Tourism Services, Financial Services, ICT Services, Professional Services, Construction Services, Education Services, Health and Wellness Services and Cultural, Entertainment and Sporting Services;
(b) Leveraging the regional integration arrangements to develop resource-based (natural resource and value added) products and promote production integration;
(c) Agriculture (Food and Nutrition Security and Export Development) – positioning the regional agricultural and fisheries sector as one economic space for growth and export development and enable food and nutrition security taking in account existing strategies to remove key binding constraints and to deliver on the Common Agriculture Policy, the Regional Food and Nutrition Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy viz,
Establishing a system of regional indicators for Agriculture targeted at reducing the food import bill within specified time frames. Select commodities based on their potential competitiveness and contribution to import substitution, exports, alleviation of food security risks, production integration, and increased contribution to economic development and GDP;
Advancing initiatives for exports through promoting an enabling environment in Member States for attracting investment in small and large scale agri-food initiatives, while encouraging entrepreneurship among youth, women and small farmers (linked to building Social Resilience);
Developing a fully integrated and harmonized Regional Agricultural Health and Food Safety System;
Advancing initiatives for sustainable expansion and intensification of fish production through responsible aquaculture development in both coastal waters and inland, particularly in the countries with large land masses and fresh water resources such as Guyana, Belize, Suriname, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago;
Stabilize and gradually enhance the contribution of fish catches from marine and inland waters, while ensuring long-term sustainability through improved, cooperative management and conservation measures using an ecosystem approach to fisheries, as well as through adoption of proper legal, regulatory and institutional measures, and technological innovations, to develop underutilized and unutilized species, address overfishing, and eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the CARICOM Member States;
Developing a risk mitigation framework to reduce the impact of climate change;
Develop programs to provide alternatives for the traditional agriculture;
(d) Developing the Air/Maritime Transport Infrastructure and Services – to improve accessibility and mobility for people and goods; enhance competitiveness at a global level; improve access to traditional and non-traditional markets; improve maritime and air transport reliability, efficiency, safety and security; establish a single/integrated airspace; harmonize the regulatory, institutional and administrative environment. In that regard, specific interventions will include:
Developing the framework for effective delivery of air and maritime transportation, including implementation of the Aid for Trade Strategy for Modernization of Freight Logistics, Maritime Transport, Trade Facilitation and Maritime Cargo and Passenger Services;
Addressing cost and sustainability of transportation in the Region;
Addressing ease of travel in the Region.
Initiatives over the Plan period to 2019 will be guided by the programme of action developed by the Regional Transport Commission.
(e) Energy Efficiency, Diversification and Cost Reduction – Focused on optimizing existing assets, reducing the high cost of energy inputs (particularly in production) through enhanced functional cooperation, and development of alternative energy to meet CARICOM’s target of 20% by 2017 for the contribution of renewable energy to the total electricity supply mix. Therefore this strategy will address energy efficiency across all sectors, development and use of renewable energy, legislative and market reform to allow for access of renewable energy to the electricity network, building awareness and capacity within Member States, and facilitating public private partnership in energy development and build on the CARICOM Energy Policy adopted in 2013;
(f) ICT – Developing the ICT Sector and promoting ICT in public sector management, business development and economic growth (in alignment with the Regional Digital Development Strategy at Strategic Priority 4 – Building Technological Resilience);
(g) Resource Mobilisation3 – Developing innovative approaches to resource mobilisation to support economic growth including Foreign Direct Investment, public-private partnership, new sources of financing and an enhanced CARICOM Development Fund.
The CSME will remain a primary platform for building international competitiveness and economic resilience for the Region. A critical success factor is to create an enabling regional business environment and address significant cost factors to production, such as transportation and energy.
Specific actions of the strategies outlined above will be developed over the Plan period through the work of various Commissions/working groups viz. the CARICOM Commission on the Economy, the ICT Cluster, and the Regional Transport Commission.
Private sector participation and leadership are vital for building resilience. Initiatives to stimulate and engage the private sector underpins the four resilience priorities and are linked with those initiatives to engage the private sector in the governance and decision making of the Community (Strategic Priority 6).
Information and Communication Technologies is fundamental to building resilience and in that regard underpin the achieving of strategies related to economic, social and environmental resilience. To that end, there are focused ICT initiatives that are recommended in these priority areas, e.g. development of a regional labour market information system (e.g. to facilitate free movement of skills), an improved and harmonised energy information system, and a regional agricultural market information system linking CSME initiatives.
Developing a supporting/enabling legislative/regulatory environment is also essential for building resilience. One area of special focus will be the harmonisation of legislation, standards and procedures to facilitate the specific initiatives recommended.
Human Resource Development is another critical success factor in building resilience. Specific initiatives are proposed to facilitate the initiatives recommended, with a special focus on youth e.g. skills for accessing and optimising business opportunities created through regional integration efforts; developing skills for new and existing productive sectors; strategic use of specialist training facilities, for example, the Caribbean Maritime Institute; continuous training and development of public officers; and developing specialists skills in key areas such as climate change, security, public sector management (legal and managerial), and ICT. Further, human resource development initiatives should be linked to advancing the implementation of Articles 45 and 46 of the RTC with a view to ensuring that the Region has access to skills needed for the development of target sectors and industries.
Research and dialogue will be at the forefront of efforts to become more proactive in meeting the economic development needs of Member States. As an example, the CARICOM Commission on the Economy will continue work to define the production integration model for the Community.4
 The five regimes viz. free movement of skills, free movement of goods, free movement of services, movement of capital and rights of establishment
 Specific initiatives within this strategy will adjust based on the work of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy
 Specific initiatives to be developed over the Plan period through the CARICOM Commission on the Economy
 Preliminary Report of the CARICOM Commission on the Economy 2014