Caribbean Development Bank Predicts Growth In Nevis

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, FEBRUARY 15TH 2007 (CUOPM)
The economy of St. Kitts and Nevis and other borrowing member countries of the Barbados-based
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) showed strong economic growth among its
borrowing member countries last year and improved performances is expected
in 2007.

The CDB said that the tourism industry is expected to benefit significantly
from the 2007 Cricket World Cup that will be held in St. Kitts and Nevis and
seven other nations in the region from March 5th  to April 28th  this year.

“While construction activity is projected to slow somewhat as a number of
related cricket investment projects are completed, other public and private
sector projects currently underway or about to commence will fill the slack
in the short to medium term and the expected marketing benefits should drive
visitor arrivals,” Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) president Dr. Compton
Bourne said.

But the financial institution has pointed to some areas within the tourism
sector that were likely to affect the economy of the Caribbean states in
2007.
“The industry is extremely sensitive to the quality of environmental
management, and it is not always clear that environmental issues and the
associated disaster management issues, are being given the attention that is
commensurate with the contribution of the industry to the economic and
social well-being of countries,” said CDB’s Director of Economics and
Programme, Alan Slusher.
Slusher made reference to growing social instability, particularly the
increase in violent crime across the region, and a rising disaffection,
particularly among male youth, with education.
“There is an increasing need for institutional arrangements to stimulate and
motivate creativity in our societies, and to channel the resulting social
energies into pathways which are productive,” Slusher said.
In a review of the region’s economic performance in 2006, Bourne said the
strong economic growth was led by expansion in tourism and construction, and
supported by agriculture, business and financial services, as well as
manufacturing.
He said in the case of Trinidad and Tobago, petroleum related activities
were a major contributor to the economic growth in that country.
“With the exception of Montserrat, where heightened volcanic activity led to
a reduction in economic activity, indications are that all other BMCs
exhibited growth in 2006, with high rates in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda,
the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos
Islands,” Bourne said.
Bourne noted that following some moderation in 2005, the tourism industry
performed “creditably” in 2006 benefiting from a strong global economy,
local marketing efforts and increased airlift.
The regional construction sector remained buoyant in 2006, with both public
and private sector projects and Bourne said preparations for the upcoming
Cricket World Cup tournament “provided a considerable part of the impetus
for activity during the year, although high levels of activity could also be
traced to non-cricket related business and tourism demand.”
But he noted that the construction industry experienced difficulty last
year, as a result of the inadequate supply of cement.
The CDB president said there had been some improvement in the agricultural
sector in 2006, due mainly to favourable weather conditions unlike the
previous two years.
“In addition there appeared to be greater public sector involvement through
the implementation of projects designed to improve competitiveness and
agricultural support services,” he said.
Dr. Bourne said the prospects for sugar cane remained uncertain, with
traditional sugar projection facing worsening export price prospects as a
result of import regime changes in Europe, even as efforts continue among
sugar producing countries for alternative uses of the crop.

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