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Chapter | Regional Relations from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Given its strategic location at the southernmost point of the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago serves as a nexus between the island nations to the north and its neighbours on the South American mainland. It has been part of CARICOM since its inception in the 1970s and according to the IMF, the region’s economies are expected to grow by 2% in 2019 and 2020, supported by economic expansion in the US and recovery from the 2017 hurricanes. Improving economic performance, integration and collaboration in sectors such as energy have put the Caribbean in an advantageous stead. Policies that centre around the regional harmonisation of regulatory procedures will likely prove important in reducing barriers to increased social integration and intra-regional trade. This chapter contains an interview with Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of St Lucia.

Chapter | Insurance from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Trinidad and Tobago’s insurance industry has persevered through recent economic struggles and recession. With GDP forecast to expand in 2020 and 2021 and demand for health and life products rising, T&T’s insurance sector exhibits strong potential and its performance expected to improve further. The proliferation of digital offerings will ensure that a larger customer base receives better service and personalised options. Local insurers report needing more information to make assessments, and as such it will be important to make more data available while respecting privacy concerns. Other challenges include a shortage of foreign exchange, a lack of reliable data and wider macroeconomic pressures. However, consolidation, innovation, the rise of insurance technology and digitalisation are expected to strengthen the sector. This chapter contains an interview with Ravi Tewari, CEO, Guardian Holdings.

Chapter | Capital Markets from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2020

The decade closed with an uptick in activity in Trinidad and Tobago’s capital markets, largely due to increases in initial public offerings, a series of mergers and acquisitions, and a number of bonds issued in the latter half of 2018 and into 2019. Even so, activity in the financial markets remains muted, a pattern seen across many bourses in the Caribbean. The local market tends to be highly concentrated among a few large firms and lacks substantial participation from smaller companies. A drive to boost the participation of citizens and small and medium-sized enterprises in equity markets may bring forth renewed dynamism and interest in the Caribbean’s largest capital market, especially when considered against the backdrop of an overall economic recovery. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Gregory Hill, Managing Director, ANSA Merchant Bank.

Chapter | Banking from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2020

In the face of economic sluggishness in 2019, Trinidad and Tobago’s banking sector showed continued consolidation and resilience. As the sector plays an increasingly critical role in the country’s diversification progress, executives are focused on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. In the near term, domestic banks are seeking to hone their competitive edge and enhance their capacity for dealing with digitalisation as personal finance needs evolve. Overall, releasing the potential of non-energy sectors via structural reforms will pave the way to develop an economy equipped with greater financial clout. Increasing the ease of doing business, reducing administrative and unproductive barriers to investment, and assuming better flexibility in response to rising global competition would also aid the country in fostering durable growth over the longer term. This chapter contains interviews with Nigel Baptiste, CEO, Republic Financial Holdings; and Ronald Carter, CEO and Chief Country Officer, JMMB Bank TT.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Trinidad and Tobago, the largest producer of oil and gas in the Caribbean, posted a GDP of $22.6bn in 2019, with growth remaining relatively flat. Though non-oil sectors have not fully shouldered the fall in oil prices, there has been modest growth in certain segments such as distribution and finance. One standout sector has been non-oil-related manufacturing exports, which amounted to $897.7m between January and June 2019, representing a 22% year-on-year rise. While there is a need to diversify the economy away from its dependence on hydrocarbons, a number of new oil and gas discoveries in late 2019 appear set to support a short-term recovery in the energy sector and help finance overall economic expansion. This chapter contains interviews with Philip Knaggs, Chairman, InvesTT; and Aldwyn Wayne, CEO, WiPay.

Chapter | Country Profile from The Report: Trinidad & Tobago 2020

The twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is located in the southern end of the Caribbean, just off the coast of Venezuela. Its rich and varied heritage lends itself to a vibrant society and cuisine derived from an array of ethnicities and religions. Developmentally, the World Bank categorises T&T as a high-income country, and it has the fourth-highest GDP per capita in the Americas in terms of purchasing power parity after the US, Canada and the Bahamas. T&T is the largest producer of oil and gas in the Caribbean; however, like many hydrocarbon-producing nations worldwide, the slump in global energy prices beginning in 2014 negatively affected broader growth. Nevertheless, the situation has provided renewed political momentum towards greater economic diversification as a means of ensuring sustained development. This chapter contains a viewpoint from Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago; and an interview with Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President, UN General Assembly.