The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) expects the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) to grow by about 7.0 percent next year as the region’s dominant tourism sector gathers momentum.
The disclosure came from ECCB Governor Timothy Antoine, who, in a Christmas Message, said that the bank would publish revised estimates at the end of January 2022.
Reflecting on the past year, Antoine spoke of several achievements for which the ECCB can be justifiably proud and mentioned three.
First, he mentioned continued collaboration with banks and other financial institutions to deliver much-needed and appreciated loan repayment deferral.
In this regard, Antoine disclosed that some loans had been graduated or restructured, but about 6,000 loans at $1.2 billion currently benefit from the programme.
Secondly, he noted the ECCB’s provision of $1.0 million to ensure the timely rollout of vaccination programmes in its member countries.
And thirdly, he pointed to the launch of the ECCB’s award-winning digital currency, DCash, thereby becoming the first currency union in the world to launch a digital currency.
” DCash is now available in seven of our eight member countries. We anticipate onboarding Anguilla in early 2022,” the ECCB Governor stated.
He explained that amid the COVID-19 uncertainty, the Currency Union is projected to have grown by about 1.0 per cent after a contraction of 17.0 per cent in 2020.
“We are grateful that our fair isles were spared the ravages of monster storms but are mindful of the devastation wrought by the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the criticality of additional resources as the country builds back. We urge those who pledged to make good on their commitments and encourage others to step forward,” Antoine said.
He also hailed the tireless work of frontline and essential workers, including the media, as the region prepares to enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And Antoine thanked individuals who have stepped forward to get vaccinated while encouraging others to do so.
“Let us all do our part to save lives and restore livelihoods,” he urged.