Published On: Wed, May 7th, 2014

VBC: ‘Curacao’s economic performance poor’

curacao-willemstadWILLEMSTAD - The economic 'performance' of the island has been poor in the past two decades. The Curacao Business Association (VBC) used the available data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) to reach that conclusion.

These figures show that the average annual real economic growth in the past twenty years has amounted to 0.1 percent. The average annual real economic growth in the Caribbean region was between 2 and 3 percent in the last twenty years. In Latin American countries, this growth was 3.5 percent. “On the basis of these facts, it is justified to say that the economic performance of Curacao in the past two decades has been poor,” the VBC said.

What did take place, according to the association, is a change in the relative importance of the sectors. "Were it twenty years ago, oil refining and the international financial services sector contributed the most to the gross domestic product, now tourism and logistics sector have taken over this role to a lesser extent."

The (negative) impact of weak economic performance is, according to the VBC, visible in various areas, including unemployment. Both the overall unemployment rate (13 percent) and youth (37 percent) is high.

"This is also the case in respect of the balance of payments, which is characterized by significant deficits on the current account."

Thanks to the debt relief, there is now room to invest and to improve in areas such as the lack of competitiveness, relatively low levels of education, excessive bureaucracy, inefficient public entities, low labor productivity and a non-optimal investment and living conditions.

The inventory lists of potential investment initiatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and the Curaçao Tourist Board also show that there is enough concrete investment projects. "These represent a total value of over 14 billion dollars. What we are lacking is the implementation of these projects. What we need is needed is a clear vision, determination and consistency which will improve and enhance confidence in the economy.”


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