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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has called on the international financial community to review its policy on graduating middle-income countries from development financing by using gross domestic product (GDP) as the main criterion.
  • The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the 4th annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) at Columbia University in New York on September 21.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has called on the international financial community to review its policy on graduating middle-income countries from development financing by using gross domestic product (GDP) as the main criterion.

“Jamaica is proposing a category for small, highly indebted middle-income countries where the inclusion of other indicators are used to determine economic well-being,” Mr. Holness said.

He noted that Jamaica’s designation as a middle-income country has made it ineligible to receive certain kinds of development aid.

The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the 4th annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) at Columbia University in New York on September 21.

He said Jamaica, while advocating for change, is actively promoting a culture of self-sufficiency “whereby we must continue to be creative and innovative and strategic in repaying our debt while pursuing sustainable development”.

The Prime Minister noted that Jamaica is committed to an economic reform structure with debt reduction as a priority.

He noted that the country has made great strides in reducing debt, but faces the challenge of how to achieve sustainable growth when 60 per cent of revenues are used to service debt.

The remainder goes towards health, education, roads and security and on spending to alleviate poverty.

Mr. Holness said that for Jamaica, debt has been the biggest obstacle to development, as it increases the cost of capital and restricts economic growth.

The Prime Minister was speaking on day one of the ICSD conference, hosted by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Earth Institute’s Global Masters in Development Practice programme.

He was the first of seven Heads of State to address the conference, which was attended by more than 500 people.

The two-day ICSD, under the theme ‘Moving Forward: The SDGs in Practice’, brings together members of the research, policy, practice and business communities to share practical solutions for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local and national levels.