GDP not everything
Barbados’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita rating should not be the only criterion for accessing concessional financing from the international community, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce.
In an address at the recent Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Boyce suggested that development must be measured by more than just GDP.
He said that while Barbados was proud to be ranked 59 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index 2013, thereby being categorized as a “high middle income country”, the use of GDP per capita alone as a development measure had proven inadequate, and projected an incomplete picture of development challenges.
“We believe, therefore, that a vulnerability and resilience index should be adopted within the framework of financing for development as a trigger that would allow middle income countries, especially highly indebted ones, to regain access to the type of financing necessary for maintaining social and economic gains,” he suggested.
Boyce also proposed support for “innovative and non-traditional measures” to address high debt burdens within middle income developing countries.
“In this regard, the use of resilience building as a policy condition for lending by the international financial institutions and the inclusion of a Vulnerability-Resilience Profile (VRP) should become criteria for access by countries like ours to concessional resources needed for successful debt management,” he said.
This, he maintained, would also provide the fiscal space needed for these countries to meet their developmental goals.
The Government senator challenged the conference to identify and confirm “the type, quantity and terms” of new and additional financial resources required to assist all developing countries in the full implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Samoa Pathway, global environmental revival, and sustainability in the face of climate change and global security issues.
“The mechanisms deployed must ensure that the rules for access to development resources recognise and provide specifically for the special circumstances of small, vulnerable, highly-indebted middle-income developing states,” Boyce emphasized.
Declaring that the Caribbean was not shirking from making and executing the difficult decisions necessary to turn around the countries, reduce vulnerabilities and improve resilience, he pleaded for “fairness in the way our financial institutions are treated by some” developed countries.
Boyce also stressed the need for the Caribbean to have a voice at the table during the formulation of international regulations that affect the region.
“We need the United Nations to be at that table with us, for the provision of financing for development has as much to do with the way the rest of the world treats the financial systems of our small countries, as it does on the concessional resources provided to us,” he argued.
Boyce urged conference participants to develop a “clear plan as to how to make financing for development fully operational, so that our countries become less vulnerable, more resilient and able to provide a decent living for all our people.”