The View from Europe: The future is services – By David Jessop – Commentary

Commentary: The View from Europe: The future is services
Published on April 25, 2015 – By David Jessop
When in the early 1990s it became apparent that Europe’s preferential regimes for Caribbean bananas and sugar were coming to an end, an impassioned debate began about a transition to other forms of economic activity. For the most part, the language then was about alternative crops, import substitution, manufacturing, exports and financial services, with little said about tourism, as its sustainability was widely regarded as uncertain.

david_jessop.jpg
  David Jessop

Since then the world has moved on. Tourism has come to dominate most Caribbean economies; offshore financial services, after being encouraged, have come under threat from the same developed countries that had originally recommended them; and agriculture has only begun to genuinely reorient itself where it is low cost, has clear niche opportunities, or there is a recognised need to ensure food security.

Although this diminished role for traditional agriculture is still hard for some in the region to accept, it is clear that the greater part of the economic future for smaller economies is now in services (alongside taking much greater advantage of the Caribbean’s economically strategic location to transship, assemble or manufacture). So much so that in the small island economies it is likely to be the services sector that becomes the significant economic driver in the future.

Although reliable figures are hard to come by, the services sector now appears to account for more than 66 percent of CARICOM’s annual GDP, and for more than 70 percent of jobs. In some nations like Antigua, the services sector is estimated to account for more than 95 percent of total output, with Anguilla, Montserrat, The Bahamas, Barbados, St Kitts, St Vincent and Grenada also recording similarly high levels of reliance on income from the export of services.  [Read more]

——-

David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council and can be contacted at david.jessop@caribbean-council.org. Previous columns can be found atwww.caribbean-council.org

 

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s