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The ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ among nationals singled out for commendation

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Antigua and Barbuda has recorded positive growth for the thirty-eight (38) of the
last 46 years (1978 to 2023), a stand-alone achievement for the English-speaking
Caribbean Community countries.
Making the observation, Professor C. Justin Robinson, Principal of the University
of the West Indies Five Islands Campus, said he has been studying the
performances of Caribbean economies over a period of time and what he has seen
in Antigua and Barbuda has been ‘a pleasant surprise’.
“The natural tendency of this economy is to grow. So, since 1978, there have only
been eight years of decline. 1982, a minor recession, 1995, a four-point decline due
to Hurricane Luis, 2005, and then suddenly you had a difficult period; 2008, 2009,
2010, 2011, four years of negative growth. There was a rebound in 2012, but
decline again in 2013. Growth picked up again in 2014 to 2019 before the
recession hit in 2020,” he reported.
The professor observed that Antigua and Barbuda economy is always on a growth
path when the economic matrix are reviewed. “This country has done fantastically
well over the past 46 years when it recorded only eight years of negative growth.
Compare that with Barbados where that economy has not grown in the past twenty
to twenty-five years as growth is often followed by decline,” he stated.
The UWI FIC principal noted too that almost all the negative growth years have
been associated with some kind of external shock. “The natural tendency here is to
grow and to create wealth. This is a strong economy under normal circumstance,”
he emphasized.
When asked to identified what are some of the issues that led to the performances
here in Antigua and Barbuda, Prof. Robinson said living here over the past ten
months, one of the things he has observed is the presence of an ‘entrepreneurial
spirit’ among residents; a ‘hustler mentality’ is how he described it.
He said coupled with other factors, he has observed a strong desire for Antiguans
and Barbudans to get into business and that this has certainly been cause for
continued growth.
With regards to foreign direct investments, Prof. Robinson said when foreign
business people invest into a country, what they are doing is investing in people.

“There has to be a level of comfort when these people decide to invest in one
country as opposed to another,” he stated.

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