Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador calls for World Bank/IMF urgent attention to all vulnerable economies

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Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, issued the following statement today.

On March 25th, the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on “all official bilateral creditors” to suspend debt payments by IDA countries because the “coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for them”.

The WBG and IMF should not stop there.

There are many other countries whose vulnerabilities, including dependence on one or two sectoral activities, such as tourism, render them urgently in need of the suspension of debt payments.

IDA countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are: Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and St Lucia.   They are so rated because of their per capita income, which by itself, is a false criterion for judging countries’ level of development and their capacity to respond to severe economic shocks, driven by external factors.

Caribbean countries that should be included in the WBG and IMF list are countries that are highly dependent on tourism, such as: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica and St Kitts-Nevis whose economies, earning capacity and ability to cope with external shocks to their economies are no greater than the IDA nations. 

Already, the severe blow with which the global effects of COVID-19 have walloped the economies of these countries is patently obvious.   Many of them lost more than 10% of their gross domestic product in three weeks, and the situation is deteriorating as cruise ships and airlines curtail schedules, hotels close, workers are laid off and the countries are forced to close their borders.   

Indeed, some of these countries need more than debt relief, they urgently require budgetary support – grants or very concessionary long-term, low interest loans – to carry them for at least the next year or they will find it very difficult, not impossible, to recover from a severe economic downturn. 

 The WBG and the IMF have invited G20 leaders to task the WBG and the IMF to prepare a proposal for comprehensive action by official creditors “to address both the financing and debt relief needs of IDA countries”, saying that they will seek endorsement for the proposal during the Spring Meetings scheduled for April 16 and 17.

But, the WBG and the IMF must include other vulnerable economies that are already reeling.  These are extraordinary times and extraordinary responses are required.   All governments must raise their voices, and G20 countries must respond.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Wha do the Economic Powerhouse and fastest growing economy in the Caribbean? Look lakka you a bleed from all over. You spen CIP money like e min a go outta style, now you a beg fa help. An by the way, a de same Worl Bank and IMF dat dem cuss and say dem na know what dem about dem a now beg for help.

    Seem lakka crappo smoke Gaston pipe

  2. While i agree with you in terms of his handling of the CIP funds. Its not crappo smoke his pipe, its actually the vulnerable ordinary Antiguans who will feel the pain of his mis management. The PM is rich thanks to his creative enrichment schemes.
    The ABLP needs to start programs like beneath the surface,fire and steel, and uncut. They had all the ideas in opposition. They are a very good opposition but awful at governance. The line item “corruption” in their budget always derail them.

  3. Well the IMF did warn us TWICE, first when they were kicked out and then subsequently on the appraisal of our handling the CIP. They got cussed again and almost sued.
    Now little st Kitts is showing us how a real country handles an global crisis and it’s the opposition we running to for help and nobody vote for dem me nah know whey dem a go wid recommendations
    Now all the growth that the singers love talk bout can’t buy ventilators or Covid19 test kits. We can’t eat the economic growth and nobody can hear from the tin man or the side chick.

  4. Now is the time to act to secure a healthy and economically sustainable future for Antigua and Barbuda.

    Closing VC Bird international airport to commercial traffic was a brilliant decision as all of Antigua’s cases have come from there, but further action needs to be taken. Now is the time to ban all travel from people that have been in the United Kingdom or the United States in the past thirty days. You have done it in the past for other nations, but now the COVID-19 crisis has expanded and it is time to expand travel restrictions. UK nationals and people that have been in the UK in the past 30 days can still come in on private planes, or on LIAT, and they pose a serious threat to the health of the islands. I personally know of several wealthy people planning to try to get in to the nation from the United Kingdom via private jets and flights on LIAT to visit their yachts and homes while putting the population at risk. Please close the gates to further infection.

    With hotels, restaurants, and activities closed and cancelled the economic impact of making this decision now will be miniscule. The faster Antigua can slow the spread of this virus, the sooner economic activity can resume. I am asking you to take further action and expand the list of travellers that won’t be allowed entry, and won’t cause any further strain on the medical system and the people’s health.

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