Factual inaccuracies on development finance

Dear Editor,

In an article appearing in last Tuesday’s Nassau Guardian under the title “Government wants climate change considered in concessionary financing”, your reporter Paige McCartney quoted a government minister in suggesting that The Bahamas recently lost access to easy international funding since it has been “graduated” by the World Bank and is “now considered a middle income country”.

While the gist of the minister’s comments was reasonable (especially in light of our recent tragic weather event), the article and the quotations upon which it relied contained several stark factual inaccuracies.

The Bahamas has never been ranked as a middle income country (much less below middle income, as your article suggests) by the World Bank. Rather, it has been consistently ranked as high income since independence. In fact, if you read the index to the 2017 report, you will note not only that the country is clearly classified as high income, but that it exceeds the threshold for such classification ($12,476 annual per capita GDP) by some three times.

In fairness, one supposes that the minister was mistaken and was simply repeating a CARICOM talking point, which is topical for the region, now that countries like Jamaica and Belize have recently been “graduated” to middle income status. However, it is not topical for The Bahamas, which has been denied concessionary access to development finance for several decades now.

– Andrew Allen

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