Monday 3 August, 2020

Watch! The 6th Caribbean Economic Forum holds many answers

Central Bank of Barbados

Central Bank of Barbados

The Central Bank of Barbados is hosting its 6th Caribbean Economic Forum, “In a World of Rising Debt, How Can Caribbean Countries Stay Afloat?” on Thursday, May 23 at 8:00 p.m.

Here’s why you need to watch:

Global Debt is at an Unprecedented High
How high? Global debt in 2017 was US $184 trillion, which works out to US $86,000 a person. This is more than an interesting piece of trivia. As a very small country that does a lot of business with much larger countries – what economists call a small open economy or SOE – Barbados is impacted by what is happening in those countries, and all over the world.
If a country has a financial crisis and it had a lot of debt before the crisis started, it will be harder and probably take longer to recover from it. Imagine losing your job while having a car loan and a mortgage to pay off. This could lead to people in that country not having money to travel on vacation, which means Barbados might get fewer tourists, which isn’t good for any of us.
That in itself is a compelling reason to pay attention to conversations about debt, but here’s another…

Household Debt in Barbados Has Risen Significantly in Recent Years
We all know that Barbados has high government debt, but did you know that personal debt is also a concern? The Central Bank of Barbados and Financial Services Commission’s 2017 Financial Stability Report revealed that Barbadian households owed $6 billion in debt. Six billion dollars!
In case you’re thinking that you’re not one of those Barbadians in debt because you don’t have a mortgage or car loan, here’s something to consider…

Credit Cards are Loans
If you own one of the 129,000 credit cards in Barbados and you’re not paying it off fully by the due date, you have debt. The 2017 Financial Stability Report also reported that credit card debt in Barbados had reached $347 million.
Debt is an individual problem. Debt is a national problem. And debt is a global problem that has serious potential implications for Barbados and the wider Caribbean.

Find out how the region can navigate this very real issue by watching the 6th Caribbean Economic Forum on CBCTV 8, Digicel, Trend Media, VOB 92.9, the Central Bank’s website and its Facebook page. You can also log on to the Central Bank’s Facebook page and take part in the live online discussion with Simon Naitram, President of the Barbados Economics Society; Dr. Ankie Scott-Joseph, a lecturer in Economics at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill; and social commentator, Kyrstle Howell.

Tune in!

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