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IMF estimates 3 pct. growth for St. Vincent in 2016

San Juan, Dec 1 (EFE).- The International Monetary Fund estimates that annual economic growth in St. Vincent and the Grenadines could climb to 3 percent starting in 2016, due in part to the expected completion in late 2015 of the nation’s first international airport.

The IMF revealed Monday the preliminary findings of a staff mission that visited the Caribbean territories Nov. 5-19 and met with several senior officials – including Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves – and private sector representatives.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ growth is projected at 1.1 percent for 2014, concentrated in the construction, manufacturing, health, education and public administration sectors, according to the IMF, which predicts growth of 1.8 percent in 2015.

“Over the medium term, potential growth is expected to be enhanced by the completion of the international airport, currently projected for late 2015. Staff estimates that GDP growth could rise to 3 percent starting from 2016,” the IMF said.

Also, the IMF projected a lower than expected budget deficit, “largely reflecting an under-spending of the capital budget.”

The IMF advised the government of St. Vincent and Grenadines to work on challenges such as high unemployment, the high cost of energy and building resilience against natural disasters.