CORONA, Regionalisation and self sufficient markets

| May 2, 2020

Resident columnist Dickson Igwe

Globalization is over as we know it. The new world will be driven by insular governance, regional integration, and bilateral agreements.

Pundits expect the Corona Virus Pandemic to be one of the longest in history. The Pandemic is expected to last for 24 months at the very least. This is going to be a long season.

For the Caribbean, the good news is that Caribbean islands appear to have the infection rate under control. Unlike countries that took the advice to lock down, and socially distance, lightly.

Travel and tourism will change dramatically. The airline industry is expected to shrink drastically. Already, major airlines have collapsed, and will only survive with government bail outs. Globally, the hotel and resort market is shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Most countries for at least 24 months hence will quarantine for all travelers to their shores, native and alien, for two weeks. This will be in addition to testing travelers for Corona Virus. That new travel protocol will take a further bite out of the travel and tourism market.

As major corporations collapse in the USA and Western Europe, especially, supply chains will be impacted. There is no guarantee food supplies that normally flow from northern industrialized states, to the south, through shipping lanes, can be maintained.

Photo courtesy https://www.paho.org/

There are fears of food shortages, as food suppliers are impacted by the pandemic.

Consequently the best policy these islands can adopt is the development of their internal markets.

Internal market sufficiency can drive a country’s GDP. The USA is a resource rich country that is the best example of a self sufficient economy. The USA can feed itself, and the country can produce within its borders, what it requires to satisfy its internal markets.

Caribbean countries cannot do that today. However that has to be the focus for the future.

Food and drink sufficiency are critical if these islands are to survive economically into the coming decade. Sufficiency will keep cash within local markets, increase the quantity of currency in the pockets of consumers, and the velocity of currency within a country’s borders, which is always an indicator of healthy commerce, trade, and industry. 

Learning will have to focus on hands on skills. The workforce of the future will be in construction, farming, maritime, agriculture, engineering, technical education, and the vocational skills required to drive an efficient internal market economy.

Inter Caribbean travel, and sea transportation for goods and products, will become vital to local economies.

Regionalization will mean multilateral and bilateral cooperation between island territories and nations.

Trade between the islands in food, drink, locally made products, and various travel services, will become the norm.

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Category: African Caribbean, Culture & Society

About the Author (Author Profile)

Dickson Igwe is an education official in the Virgin Islands. He is also a national sea safety instructor. He writes a national column across media and has authored a story book on the Caribbean: ‘The Adventures of a West Indian Villager’. Dickson is focused on economics articles, and he believes economics holds the answer to the full economic and social development of the Caribbean. He is of both West African and Caribbean heritage. Dickson is married with one son.

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