Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has urged resilience amid the current difficult times in remarks at Tuesday’s press launch of the 53rd annual meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Pierre is the current Chairman of the CDB Board.
He recalled that when he accepted the Chair, he noted that finding solutions for difficult times would define his one-year tenure.
“If there is one lesson to be learned from the pandemic and the ongoing fallout from the Russian-Ukraine conflict is that the sooner we understand and expect that “difficult times” may now be more the norm than the exception, the sooner we can set about focusing on resilience to ensure that no matter the degree of difficulty – we have what it takes to chart a sustainable life for our people,” the Saint Lucia Prime Minister told his audience.
In this regard, Pierre declared that he will be promoting two issues of regional importance.
He identified them as social and economic empowerment of youth which he has coined the ‘Youth Economy’ and relatedly, access to adequate and affordable finance for development
The Saint Lucia Minister of Finance and the Youth Economy noted that Approximately 17 % of the region’s population comprises young people 15-24 years old and 25% between 10-24 years old.
Pierre said given this large youth demographic, the potential contribution to social and economic development is significant.
However, he asserted that for this potential to be realised, optimal engagement of youth in the economy is imperative.
Concerning access to adequate and affordable financing, Pierre said it is well accepted that given the region’s debt sustainability constraints, it needs to develop new and innovative financing mechanisms to foster social, economic, and environmental resilience.
He explained that the classification of many countries in the region as middle and high income solely based on per capita Gross National Income (GNI) is devoid of consideration for their inherent vulnerability to environmental and economic shocks and our low propensity for a speedy recovery.
“This has significantly constrained access to much-needed concessional resources to fund development priorities such as the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change,” Pierre said.
And he declared that for this reason Saint Lucia is firmly behind the innovative work being undertaken by the CDB to develop the Recovery Duration Adjustor that seeks to incorporate a resilience-adjusted GNI measure to determine access to concessional finance