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IMF launches book on OECS/ECCU

IMF launches book on OECS/ECCU

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Two Vincentian economists are among the contributors to a new book published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the region, entitled: The Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union: Macroeconomics and Financial Systems.{{more}}

They are Wendell Samuel, Deputy Division Chief of the Caribbean II Division (former Regional Resident Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU)) and Jehann Jack, economist in the ECCU Regional Resident Representative’s Office.

Alfred Schipke, Division Chief in the Asia Pacific Department (former Division Chief of the Caribbean I (ECCU) Division), Aliona Cebotari and Nita Thacker, both Deputy Division Chiefs of the Caribbean I (ECCU) Division edited the publication, which was officially launched at the IMF headquarters in Washington, DC, last Thursday (May 9, 2013).

Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, delivered opening remarks for the event, which included a panel discussion that was moderated by Adrienne Cheasty, Deputy Director of the Western Hemisphere Department. Co-editors Alfred Schipke and Aliona Cebotari provided an overview of the book. The panel also comprised Françoise Clottes, Country Director for the Caribbean at the World Bank, and Janet Harris, the World Bank’s Alternate Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, and the Caribbean (former Financial Secretary, Saint Kitts and Nevis). Among the attendees at the book launch and seminar were international diplomats, including Ambassador La Celia A. Prince.

The book takes a comprehensive look at the Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union (OECS/ECCU) – one of four currency unions in the world – including its organization, economic and financial sector linkages, and proffers policy recommendations to foster economic growth. Other chapters focus on offshore financial centres, experiences with debt restructuring, and the regional capital market. [The ECCU comprises Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The British Virgin Islands, which was not included in the publication, is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) but not the ECCU.]

As in other parts of the world, in the aftermath of the global economic and financial crisis, the region is at a crossroads, facing the major challenges of creating jobs, making growth more inclusive, reforming the banking system, and managing volatility, while grappling with high public debt and persistent low economic growth.

According to Sir K. Dwight Venner, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, in an advance review, “This handbook on the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) covers, at the institutional and policy levels, the critical issues that have impacted the stability and growth of the member countries of the ECCU, and which are informing the debates on the future of these countries. The handbook provides a compelling narrative on the functioning of the ECCU and is supported by a wealth of empirical data that will be extremely useful to public sector policymakers, the private sector, and the general public in the ECCU, as well as the international community.”

The publication also features reviews from the Dr Denzil L. Douglas, Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; Professor Jeffrey A. Frankel of Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government; and Dr Lester Henry, Lecturer in Economics at University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde penned the foreword.

The book is available for purchase in paperback or electronic format from the IMF Bookstore (http://www.imfbookstore.org/ProdDetails.asp?ID=MFSEEA). A free excerpt, containing the table of contents, foreword, preface, biographies of contributors, and first chapter, can also be obtained online: http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/bforums/2013/eccu/pdf/excerpt.pdf

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