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The Caribbean is a diverse region with significant economic potential and growth opportunities. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita varies from around US$800 to over US$30,000 and most countries rely primarily on tourism, while some on commodity exports. With its stunning scenery and vibrant cultures, the Caribbean is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Sustainable use of ocean resources, known as the “blue economy,” offers potential for economic diversification, while preserving the region’s environment, as well as further development of other sectors with potential for growth.
COVID-19 pandemic impact in the Caribbean resulted in GDP contraction by as much as 16-20 percent in some countries in 2020. As tourism returned, uneven recovery started in 2021 with average growth in the region recording 9.7 percent.  Worsening global economic environment in 2022 slowed the momentum and average growth in 2022 is estimated at 7.9 percent. As recovery continues, levels of debt to GDP started to trend down for most countries. Rising price levels and challenging global environment pose significant challenges as countries work to strengthen fiscal balances, revitalize growth and build resilience against natural disasters and to help cope with climate change.
Caribbean countries are extremely vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. Extreme weather events are common – the region experienced nine hurricanes at Category 3 and above in 2019-2020, and a record number of named storms in the 2020 hurricane season.  When a hurricane strikes, it can wipe out more than the entire annual GDP of a small island and it is often the poorest that suffer the most. Major hurricanes include Irma and Maria in 2017, and Dorian in 2019. In April 2021, the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has required mass evacuations, and is having widespread impacts on the country’s people, infrastructure, and economy.
Building fiscal and financial resilience and investing in preparedness – be it physical, health-related, or social safety nets – are critical to reducing the large human and economic costs caused by climate change.  to the Caribbean also aims to develop new sources of economic growth and high productivity jobs, which will require investing in people and climate adaptation, improving the investment climate and connectivity, and safeguarding the environment.
The World Bank in the Caribbean


Last Updated: Apr 14, 2023

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