How the Caribbean Government can Strategically Address the Different Challenges Facing the Region?

Cancun aerial view of the beautiful white sand beaches and blue turquoise water of the Caribbean ocean.

By Miguel Goede

The Caribbean is a diverse group of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). While the region presents various growth opportunities, it is grappling with a number of challenges such as climate change, resulting in devastating hurricanes. By developing and executing a smart strategy, the government can address the challenges facing the region and achieve an even more pleasant way of life on the islands.


Challenges Facing Caribbean Small Island Developing States

There are several challenges facing the Caribbean. While they are impacting simultaneously on the Caribbean, they don’t necessarily start in the Caribbean. In many cases, these global phenomena are a variation of a global trend.

In 2017 the Carribean region was hit very hard by hurricanes. Barbuda has been wiped away and Sint Maarten and Puerto Rico are still trying to recover.

Climate Change

For many years, it has been known that global sea levels are rising. Other related issues are trends of powerful hurricanes, extreme periods of dryness, and those marked by extreme rainfall. In 2017 the Carribean region was hit very hard by hurricanes. Barbuda has been wiped away and Sint Maarten and Puerto Rico are still trying to recover. The United Nations for many years has been raising awareness for these issues.1 In spite of all these efforts, only a few islands’ governments and NGOs are addressing the critical issue of climate change – which is related to the use of fossil energy. In terms of Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emission, China is at the top of the ranking.2  


China’s political and economic involvement in the world and in the Caribbean is relatively new, but it remains a potential game changer.3  Its way of doing business is different from the West, and we do not know what the long-term effects will be. In addition to China, countries like Russia is also getting more active in the Caribbean.4


Despite increasing FDI and growing tourism sectors, poverty has been an issue in the Caribbean.5 The global trend of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is also reflected on these islands. With poverty comes high levels of youth unemployment and some people unable to acquire the right skills to earn a living in their economies.


With high levels of unemployment, especially youth unemployment and increasing poverty in some neighbourhoods on the Caribbean islands comes the problem of drug trafficking. This is a fertile soil for transnational crime6 and gangs, and has been going on for several years now.

Financial markets

Many islands have diversified their economies by getting involved in the financial markets. In recent years, rich countries have been determined to reduce tax evasion and crackdown on the industry especially after the publication of the Panama Papers7 and the Paradise Papers.8 


The Internet has had a disruptive impact on most sectors in the global economy. Caribbean islands are becoming more digitalised, but are they becoming smarter? More and more islands are trying to change their educational systems to meet the challenges of the digital era; implementing the 21st Century skills.9

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About the Author

Dr. Miguel Goede is a scientist, strategist and a management consultant. His area of research is Good Governance for Sustainable Development of Globalizing Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean.  His specialty is to coach governments and organisations to adjust to the society 3.0.



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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.