Regional governments are being challenged by a predicament caused by a combination of longer life expectancies and declining birth rates.
How they can address this will be the focus of the July edition of the Central Bank of Barbados’ Caribbean Economic Forum, Solving the Ageing Population Crisis in the Caribbean, which takes place on Thursday, July 7 at 8:00 p.m.
“That people in the region are living longer is in many ways a testament to our countries’ success in providing quality social services for our citizens. At the same time, however, an ageing population can lead to significant challenges for Caribbean economies,” explained Novaline Brewster, Chief of Corporate Communications at the Central Bank.
She continued: “An ageing population means increased healthcare costs. And a declining birth rate has implications for the labour force in the future, thus impacting the ability of social security schemes to maintain our social safety nets.”
Research has shown that birth rates in some Caribbean countries have fallen below replacement levels, which experts say can have a negative impact on countries’ standards of living and potentially compromise governments’ abilities to provide pensions for citizens.
“This is a regional problem that has implications for everyone, old or young. That’s why we’re hearing an alarm being sounded by policymakers. It warrants serious and thoughtful discussion, so we’ve assembled a panel of experts to explore the challenge and offer workable solutions.”
Those panellists are Professor Emeritus Karl Theodore, Senior Consultant Advisor, HEU, Centre for Health Economics at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine; Derek Osborne, Actuary and Partner at LifeWorks, Bahamas; and Diane Quarless, Director of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Sub-regional Headquarters for the Caribbean.