Economic performance of Antigua-Barbuda praised

In a letter of congratulations to Prime Minister Gaston Browne on his victory at the polls last month, the director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Alejandro Werner, noted that Antigua and Barbuda’s economy has recovered from an extended crisis.

In his letter, Werner said the economic recovery reflects both significant policy efforts as well as a substantial increase in citizenship-by-investment revenues.

The director in his congratulatory note pointed out that the country continues to face important challenges.

Dealing with regional financial system developments and regional integration were key among the challenges, Werner pointed out.

“I very much hope to maintain the constructive and fruitful dialogue we have with Antigua and Barbuda, and the IMF looks forward to working closely with you and your economic team in the period ahead,” he said.

The IMF lent the government of Antigua and Barbuda EC$320 million during the previous United Progressive Party (UPP) administration.

However, the loan, which was inherited by the incoming Antigua-Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) government in June 2014, was repaid in full by the Browne administration on March 20, 2018.

The ABLP government, since regaining power in four years ago, has attracted new investments totalling at least $2.7 billion.

It also became the fastest growing economy of all 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries in 2016 at 6.5%.

It has also regained its position of being the largest economy in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), an achievement that the IMF has now acknowledged.

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