Newly appointed World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Axel van Trostenburg, says Jamaica’s macroeconomic achievements, to date, have been “extremely impressive”.
“I don’t know any country that has achieved, over a sustained period of time, the fiscal adjustments and reforms as Jamaica has done, and produced a most spectacular reduction of its debt level that reached almost 150 per cent, to fall, this year, below 100 per cent,” he said.
“It’s certainly a world achievement… that probably would be number one, in terms of that success”, he said, adding that “I can only congratulate the country for this.
“I think this is very good news. I can only [urge] you to continue this, because many countries could start learning from [this] miracle in Jamaica, that despite the many challenges, the country has made this enormous progress,” the World Bank Vice President added.
He was speaking at a media briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister earlier this week to announce an additional US$140-million World Bank loan provision for Jamaica.
The funds will boost the Government’s efforts to strengthen Jamaica’s resilience risks associated with natural disasters, as well as support human capital development and enhance the social safety net for the society’s most vulnerable citizens.
Mr. van Trostenburg, who was making his first visit to the island since his appointment, said Jamaica’s achievements are worthy of being highlighted.
“I certainly mentioned to the Finance Minister (Dr. Nigel Clarke) that we may need to actually highlight it a little bit more in the (Bank’s) membership, so that other countries can also learn what are the factors behind this,” he noted.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, for his part, noted that Jamaica’s 55-year relationship with the World Bank remains strong, with over 140 projects facilitated to date.
He said the provision of the US$140 million, resulting from discussions that Clarke had during the Bank’s recent series of spring meetings “comes as a result of good management of the economy”.
“It shows that the World Bank and other International Development Partners are willing to place their loan portfolios with us because we are managing our economy the right way,” Mr. Holness added.
For his part, Clarke said the World Bank has been an “excellent partner” of Jamaica over the past 55 years and “during the course of that time, has contributed to many signal achievements”.
“We look forward to working with you for decades to come,” he added.