Dominican Republic, unlike its Caribbean neighbors, has been one of the best economic performers in the region in the last decade. As the 7th largest economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, the country’s growth rate in the last 50 years has been 5.9%, well above the regional average.
However, high levels of poverty and inequality prevail. The goal is to achieve growth for everyone.
To overcome this great challenge, Dominican Republic celebrates its first meeting of the Caribbean Growth Forum, where over 150 participants will discuss ways to unlock the country’s growth potential.
A joint venture by the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) brings together key private sector, the youth, civil society, as well as the wider Caribbean diaspora, with the aim of inspiring an open and realistic discussion about the future of the region and its potential for growth.
“Growth goes beyond GDP, it is also about building an inclusive society,” explains Andrea Gallina, World Bank Civil Society Specialist and CGF Coordinator. “It’s a forum to give voice to those groups less represented in any debate, such as small and medium businesses, youth and the diaspora,” he added.
Where to start?
In order to bring real growth, experts agree that the focus should be on greater investment and productivity. Human capital, more jobs, telecommunications, innovation and quality of infrastructure are all very necessary areas for growth. But, where to start?
Marialisa Motta, World Bank director for Finance and Private Sector Development in the Latin American and Caribbean Region and co-director for the Investment Climate Global Practice, explains the need to help countries in the region achieve growth in line with their potential.
According to Motta, despite of continued growth, Dominican Republic is way below the regional average when it comes to promote entrepreneurship.
This is mainly caused by red tape and institutional bottlenecks. In addition, high transportation costs negatively affect exports, manufacturing and tourism.
“Though ample and complex, the CGF agenda does provide the opportunity to develop action plans for results in the next six months,” said Motta.