As Jamaica starts to see some improvements in its economy — growth at 1.8 per cent, unemployment at about nine per cent, a world-leading stock market in terms of growth, and consumer confidence at a 17-year high — it is still lagging much of the region in terms of battling income inequality, according to a recently published report from Oxfam.
The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2018 (CRI), released on Tuesday, is a global ranking of governments based on how they tackle the gap between rich and poor. The index looks at three main pillars of social spending, taxation and labour.
On the list of 157 countries, Jamaica lists below the half-way mark at 96, between Honduras at 95 and the Central African Republic at 97. And out of 25 countries in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, Jamaica ranked four from the bottom at 21.
Although just released, the impact of any policy changes brought by the change in Government in 2016 is not yet reflected; however, as the report notes, “our data for this year for the Latin America region is 2015”.
Jamaica was one of the poorest-perfroming countries in the region, behind Costa Rica at 36, Guyana (51), Antigua (53), St Lucia (67), Barbados (69), Triniada and Tobago (72), St Vincent (79) and the Grenadines, and the Dominican Republic (89).
Jamaica performed better than only three other counties in the region, however, such as Panama at 109, Belize at 115, and Haiti — at the bottom at 155.