New Economic Thrust
The restructuring of the banana industry and the diversification of the economy was now of paramount importance. This, in order to increase investments in non-traditional sectors, and create employment
Several priority sectors were identified: Information and Communications Technology (ICT), International Financial Services (IFS), Tourism, Agri-business, Light manufacturing and the Cultural Industries. The government is seeking to attract investors in these sectors.
Response to the Economic Crisis of 2007 and Beyond
In 2007, the world was plunged into the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. This crisis exerted severe external pressures on the economy of St. Vincent and The Grenadines. The Tourism Sector and Foreign Direct Investments were hardest hit. Following two years of record high growth in 2006 and 2007,real GDP growth slowed in 2008 and dipped in 2009. Through fiscal and structural policies however, the Government of St. Vincent and The Grenadines with support from international financial institutions, has laid the foundation to maintain competitiveness and support a growth recovery.
The government implemented an ambitious framework of policy reforms designed to strengthen the public finances, achieve higher growth, lower unemployment and reduce poverty.
Government Priorities, Role and Objectives
The economic priorities of the government can be summarized as follows:
• Sustainable and balanced economic development
• Job creation
• Poverty reduction
• Human resource development
• Physical infrastructure development
• Social transformation
• Deepening regional integration and
• Fiscal consolidation.
This policy revolves around the following strategies:
a. Reviving the banana industry
b. Diversifying agriculture around bananas
c. Enlarging the domestic production of livestock
d. Creating more opportunities in agro-processing
e. Boosting the fishing industry
f. Developing a quality, many-sided tourism industry
g. Building a viable and hygienic international financial services sector
h. Targeting the manufacturing of high-end quality products
i. Enlarging the production of services, and their local value-added, such as in merchant shipping, telecommunications and professional services
j. Developing the creative arts, film-making, and sports
k. Adding value in diverse areas such as transportation, construction, water, electricity and Government services
l. Making the retail and wholesale trades more efficient and competitive
m. Developing to the fullest the country’s human resources
n. Proper marketing of all the goods and services which the economy produces
o. Drawing up and implementing appropriate physical development plans for Kingstown and for the rural areas
In this more highly diversified and competitive economy, tourism, international financial services, other services, agriculture and fisheries are the lead sectors.