Currently, the countries in the Caribbean region are doing well economically, even though they are still behind in social and political developments. For instance, the status of human rights is terrible while the conditions in which citizens live are appalling meaning some interventions are required. The region is in urgent need of strong policy actions in case it wants to remain competitive in the highly challenging global system.
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Several countries in the Caribbean are unable to achieve their economic and social objectives, mainly because of their sizes gave the fact they are very small. Accessibility to markets and the level of economic development are important factors since they determine the successfulness of businesses and growth of companies. Since 1995, Jamaica has been experiencing negative growth even though the other states, such as Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, have been registering strong results, as far as economic growth is concerned.
Production and distribution of goods and services are concentrated in a few areas, particularly in agriculture and mining, which is a major impediment towards growth and development of the economy (Jessen and Céspedes 21). This paper examines some of the problems that have been affecting the region for a few years.
The major challenge is continuous disasters that are witnessed in the region frequently, as they seriously affect the economies of many countries. The governments are unable to respond to these natural catastrophes, swiftly leading to losses of life and property. While the region is known to attract tourists, the rate has been inconsistent with the growth of GDP, as it does not keep the pace.
English speaking countries in the region are unable to trade freely with their neighbors, making it difficult to form a strong regional organization that would give the states an advantage globally. Again, the agricultural sector is the most depended upon, but the manufacturing process is costly, something that has been affecting the performance of the region’s economy. Agricultural products are mainly finished in other protected economies, such as the US, which does not give room to small companies to develop.
The main destinations for goods and services include Europe, the United States, and Canada (Tsikata 67). Since their economies are highly susceptible to external influence, companies are unable to compete globally, given their diminutive levels of operation and insufficient capital. The exported materials are concentrated in a few sectors and are mainly raw goods that must be finished elsewhere.
The countries are forced to import processed consumer goods from other regions leading to an imbalance of trade since what is exported is not equivalent in value to what is imported. Overreliance on the system of preferential access to markets for products, such as bananas and sugar, is an issue of concern that is threatening to bring down the region’s economy. Due to insufficient capital and poor policy actions, the region is highly depended on foreign direct investment, commercial borrowing, and official grants.
In the past two decades, the region embarked on programs to improve the economy and enhance the conditions of living. However, many countries are still vulnerable in various ways, one of them being overconcentration on small range products and openness since it has the potential of destabilizing the terms of trade (Hillman and D’Agostino 61). Politically, the countries have a long way to go because the competition is yet to be appreciated as one of the ways that would facilitate development.
The governments and leaders of the major political parties are often known to frustrate newcomers in the political arena. In particular, women are facing several challenges in seeking the highest political offices in governments because their contributions are never appreciated. If any political party attempts to oppose the views and opinions of government officials, it would be seen as an adversary that should be dealt with accordingly, something that goes against the tenets of democracy.
Lack of political participation in policy formulation has affected the performance of the region’s economy for many years. The standards of living in many parts of the region are still low as compared to those of other parts of the continent, mainly because of repressive regimes that are reluctant to consult the populace before designing policies.
The governments spend most of their revenues on sustaining the highest wage bill due to the radical programs introduced recently aiming at popularizing authoritarian regimes by hiring the youths and empowering the alleged vulnerable groups (Hillman and D’Agostino 89). If the situation is to be improved, the countries should expand trade liberation to augment net profits for the entire region. This would better be addressed by dropping imports and enhancing resource allocation.
In conclusion, it is noted that the Caribbean region faces several challenges ranging from natural disasters, defective trade policies, and poor governance to overdependence on imports. These have led to continued suffering among the populace to the extent of losing hope with the government.
The region imports many products than what it can export, leading to an unfavorable balance of payment. Studies indicate that the situation could be improved by enhancing external competitiveness, preventing the impacts of external pressures by expanding export structures and expanding liberation.
Hillman, Richard, and D’Agostino Thomas. Understanding the Contemporary Caribbean. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009. Print.
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Jessen, Anneke, and Céspedes, Rodríguez. The Caribbean Community: Facing the Challenges of Regional and Global Integration. Buenos Aires: Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean, 1999. Print.
Tsikata, Yvonne. Accelerating Trade and Integration in the Caribbean: Policy Options for Sustained Growth, Job Creation, and Poverty Reduction. Washington: World Bank, 2009. Print.