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More Than Three-Quarter Of Caribbean Businesses Negatively Impacted By COVID-19

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Tuesday, October 20, 2020) — 76 percent of businesses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago report a negative impact of COVID-19 on their turnover; and are bracing for the economic fallout from the pandemic to continue, for at least another 24 months, according to a Digicel-funded study.

The survey also found that 59 percent of the businesses highlighted the issue of the Caribbean as a travel destination, as a key concern; whereas 51 percent cited supply chain disruptions.

Other key concerns were digital risks/cyber-security (48 percent); workforce productivity, due to working remotely (32 percent); and technology system resilience issues (30 percent).

Equally, 50 percent of businesses are pointing to difficulties receiving payments from customers; whereas 40 percent point to difficulties in honouring their obligations to suppliers.

In looking to the future, 47 percent of businesses point to cyber-security as one of their key priorities, with remote working capabilities, IT infrastructure and process automation cited by 38 percent of businesses.

There is some reticence in moving data to the cloud, as only 26 percent highlighted that as a key priority in their future strategy. However 28 percent of business did not believe that they currently have the requisite technology to operate their business remotely.

Meanwhile, the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that the Caribbean and Latin America’s recovery will be slower, as pre-pandemic levels of GDP are projected to be attained in 2023.

It also foresees a steep fall in international growth this year, as the global economy struggles to recover from the pandemic-induced recession, its worst collapse in nearly a century.

The IMF also estimated, today, that the global economy will shrink 4.4 percent for 2020. By comparison, the international economy contracted by a far smaller 0.1 percent, after the devastating 2008 financial crisis.

While forecasting a global contraction this year, after a 2.8 percent growth in 2019, the IMF predicts a rebound to global growth of 5.2 percent next year, 0.2 percentage points lower than in its June forecast.

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