Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis returns to Nassau today from a conference of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of state in San Pedro Town, Belize.
The conference’s goals included strengthening regional multilateralism, expanding intra-regional trade and investment, and promoting cooperation in public health and climate change mitigation. Davis and his Progressive Liberal Party won a snap election last September based on providing a better response to the pandemic and improving the country’s economic recovery.
Global travel restrictions and suspensions of American cruise voyages caused a 16.2% contraction in the country’s GDP between 2020 and 2021. Nine CARICOM member states suffered double-digit declines in GDP in 2020, and 13 out of CARICOM’s 14 member states are under do-not-travel warnings by America’s Center for Disease Control.
Expect Davis to use the conference’s goals as justification for increasing investment in green industries and reducing trade barriers in the region. As the COVID-19 threat recedes, expect increased regional economic cooperation, particularly in reviving the tourism and cruise industries. Continuing travel restrictions and hesitancy will cause Caribbean states to diversify their economies away from tourism over time, with financial services and intra-regional agricultural trade likely to grow in the coming decade as regional economic integration deepens.
Kyle is a Publisher and Analyst on the Analysis team. He specializes in foreign policy and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on Mexico and Central America.