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St. Vincent and the Grenadines: 2016 Article IV Consultation-Press Release; Staff Report

Summary: Context. Growth is recovering after the setbacks from the end-2013 floods and sluggish external demand post global financial crisis. While real GDP contracted by 0.2 percent in 2014, it is estimated to have grown by 1.6 percent in 2015, led by recovering tourism inflows and rebounding construction. Public debt—74 percent of GDP at end-2015—has steadily increased since 2008, owing largely to the impact of the global financial crisis, construction of the new international airport, and rehabilitation spending in response to three back-to-back natural disasters. Prime Minister Gonsalves’ new five-year electoral mandate provides the opportunity to strengthen the macroeconomic policy framework, notably to anchor strong growth, meet the authorities’ commitment to reduce public debt to 60 percent of GDP by 2030, and embark upon much needed structural reforms. Strategy: The 2016 Article IV consultation was focused on establishing a strong macroeconomic framework to optimize the impact of large infrastructure projects, improve competitiveness and boost sustainable growth.