How Adequately Prepared Are We in Caricom for Globalization?

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There continue to be wide ranging debate on the preparedness of CARICOM countries for the pending impact which globalization will have on these small developing nations. Globalization is expected to have a negative an impact on the economic, social, environmental, Industrial development of small countries. Caricom countries because of their size, population, isolation and remoteness fit into this category of countries considered to be small. If these factors are examined for there likely impact on the Caribbean Islands, they will overwhelmingly show that while some CARICOM countries has made some attempts to prepare for Globalization many if not all are still not yet prepared.

In the 1990s the concept of globalization was widely employed in academic and political debates but the meanings attributed to this term are far from consistent. Globalization may be defined as the growing influence exerted at the local, national and regional levels by financial, economic, environmental, social, political and cultural processes that are global in scope. (Globalization and Development, 2003) Globalization refers to the growing level of economic integration among countries. (Challenges and Opportunities of Globalization: An Action Plan for Caribbean Labor Markets, 1999) Based on these definitions, we can identify various aspects that would need developing to keep up the globalization process. Even though the definitions have identified these areas of developments which are necessary, the major Factors which dictate the unpreparedness of the CARICOM would be that of Financial and Economical. One of the most important aspects is the financial position of CARICOM members is of great importance in their development for globalization. We view the financial position of a state to be an aspect of their economic position.

Financial and Economical
According to (Caribbean Trade and Investment report 2000: 4) “there are various factors which combine to make small states especially vulnerable and susceptible to income volatility. Such Factors include remoteness and isolation, susceptibility to natural disasters and environmental change, limited diversification and debilitating poverty. Where countries are small, their ability to undertake the sort of large-scale operations that are usually required for sustained growth is indeed limited.”

The Caribbean is very susceptible to natural disasters, namely hurricanes. Now this is especially evident in countries such as Grenada, who after Hurricane Ivan, is sill crippled especially in terms of their economy and financial status. This wiped out their means to produce and maintain their economy and thus gotten rid of their ability to support the changes needed to be implemented for global development. In other islands like Dominica or St. Lucia, whose main form of capital still resides in their banana industry, would face a similar fate if this was to occur to them. However natural disasters is not the only area in which CARICOM countries will have difficulty in competing in a globalized environment for another such area is in the removal of preferential trade barriers.

It is well known that the Caribbean utilizes agriculture for a means of foreign exchange and earning capital, thus globalization affects it on a major level. Belal Ahmed- The cost of production, especially for sugar and banana is rising. This factor is compensated by the higher preferential marketing prices of sugar and Banana protocols under the Lome Convention and also the subsequent Contonou Partnership Agreement signed in June 2000, which guarantees both the export amount and prices until 2008, after which the Caribbean sugar and banana industries are expected to face the full impact of globalization. CARICOM countries have been challenged in this area by the slow pace to diversify into other crops, lack of increase production and continued labour problems in the sector. This clearly identifies another area in...
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