Caribbean economic officials and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussed possible strategies to help boost long term growth in the region, focusing in particular on the uncertain global environment and strategies to address the high cost of energy and strengthen the financial sector.

The discussions were held at a high-level forum on “[Financing Growth](” that included finance ministers, central bank governors from the Caribbean and officials from the IMF, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank and donors. The event was jointly organized with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

At the conclusion of the Forum today, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF said *“the Caribbean Forum has become a key platform for us and our Caribbean partners to engage and advance solutions to foster economic growth in the region. Responding to the priorities set by the Caribbean authorities at last year’s Forum we have focused our attention on the challenges posed by the mixed near term outlook for the region, addressing the high costs of energy and financial sector issues including access to credit.”*

**Short term outlook**

Participants welcomed the return to growth but recognized that it remains fragile and uneven, and discussed policy responses in the face of the uncertain international environment. The tightening of US monetary policy will make debt more expensive and deepen the Caribbean’s competitiveness disadvantage. In this context, the IMF encouraged authorities to seize this moment of increasing growth and low oil prices, to strengthen fiscal buffers and take structural reform measures to increase the production of goods and services, raise employment, and lower the costs of doing business. These actions are needed to make the Caribbean more attractive for FDI and raise potential output.

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