**The Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie
Prime Minister of The Bahamas**
Prime Minister Perry Christie was the keynote speaker at the 2007 Bahamas Business Outlook yesterday, and addressed the theme of the annual event: *”Opportunities, Plans and Anticipated Outcomes.”*
Referencing Central Bank of The Bahamas reports that the Bahamian economy has “maintained positive momentum supported by strong consumer demand which stimulated robust growth in private sector credit and sustained the expansion in construction activity,” he also pointed out that the International Monetary Fund projects that growth will continue to accelerate reaching 6.5% for the fiscal year 2006/07 and 6.7% for 2007/08.
The government’s success in attracting investment in tourism projects in almost every Family Island of The Bahamas was credited with the positive economic growth. *”This positive growth has also arisen from careful stewardship of this economic expansion the likes of which are without precedent,”* the Prime Minister said. *“This projected volume of inward investment is at least $8 billion over the next few years,”* in excess of the 2005 GDP of The Bahamas which stood at $5.9 billion.
Dubbing 2006 as *”an economically banner year for The Bahamas”*, the Prime Minister also spoke to the past 4 years, during which he said more than 430 foreign investment projects were submitted to the Minister of Financial Services and Investments. Of that number, 53 projects with a total combined value of $13 billion currently are under varying states of construction.
Capital inflow is expected to strengthen further in 2007, with resort projects on New Providence and others envisaged for the major Family Islands.
Other positive economic factors mentioned were:
– decreasing unemployment rate
– tamed and under control inflation rate
– responsible management of the national debt
Also of importance, said the Prime Minister, is the fact that national statistics on the growth of the economy have been subject to the external scrutiny of the IMF and the ratings agencies.