Having promulgated my thoughts about The Bahamas in a number of Blogs over the past 12 months that included coverage from my perspective of the multitude of 'evils' facing our little country (thus far 12 and counting ….), I thought it might be appropriate to provide pointers to what the 'world' thinks of us.
I do this because Governments are very easy targets; they reside in the public spotlight ('fish bowl') and cannot avoid the incessant public stare, despite sometimes going to extremes to hide their decisions and actions. So it is right that alternative views should be offered that would tend to 'balance' the picture, especially if objective commentary is provided from those with vested and no vested interests. My thoughts could then be properly contextualised and the precarious position we are in reconfirmed or rejected/denied outright.
I think all would agree, however, that we are in a global competition that intensifies by the day and are competing from an increasingly weakening position, as precious internal resources (human and social capital) diminish and mismanagement of the resulting fewer resources continues at a regular pace. One of the main resources being diminished is a knowledgeable and educated population that can drive a talented workforce that will be attractive to a more diverse Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). I have identified evils over the past year or so that I have headlined 'GIANT Evils' in my Blogs, in an attempt to promulgate my thinking on these issues, which include but are not limited to: Lack of a National Vision; Crime & Anti-social Behaviour; Declining Education; Economic Misfocus; Economic Dependence; Food Insecurity; Health & Welfare; Natural Disasters; Political Indecision; Need for Labour Reform (Unions and Collective Bargaining); Socio-political Reality; and the Immorality & Hypocrisy which inheres our population.
With regard to the issues listed below, these are the views of others, in particular, international, regional and local agencies, supra-governmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including the United Nations (UN), World Bank (WB); International Monetary Fund (IMF); Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and other agencies that gather and analyse data on countries on an ongoing basis. The indicators include governance, ease of doing business, corruption, failed states index and human development, inter alia. They are in no particular order (though I have tried to lump together the more general indicators at the start):
1. World Governance Indicators
** The Bahamas - Business Freedom of 72.5 (above regional average of 63.7)
2. UNESCO Statistics
The long statistical table is particularly instructive
3. Ease of Doing Business
** The Bahamas is ranked 77th out of 185 countries overall but 179th for ‘registering property’ and 123rd for ‘enforcing contracts’. What can we infer from these two rankings?
** The Bahamas is ranked 22nd with a score of 73, not bad, not bad at all.
5. Small Island Developing State (SIDS) Ranking
6. Failed States Index
** The Bahamas is ranked 134th with a score of 55.1, not bad, not bad at all (c.f. Somalia ranks #1)
7. Human Development Index (HDI)
** The Bahamas is ranked 6th with a score of 41, and in ‘high human development’ column
8. Trade Liberalisation
Are we on the right track?
9. National Economic Indicators - GDP per capita
Compare any two years, e.g. 2004 to 2012 to see the trend
10. Debt-to-GDP Ratio
Important here to look at the trend lines for each country; again, can compare years
11. GDP Growth
Compare any two years to see the trend
12. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) attraction
UNCTAD World Investment Report 2012
Patently small in stature, we nonetheless figure prominently in many of the above indices. On the surface, we appear to be an extremely wealthy little country, but when we dig a bit deeper, we can infer from trends that our vaulted position of the past is slowly ebbing away. Also, there is no thought given to emerging social issues that might be masked by this apparent decline in wealth. Together the indices paint a mixed picture, but as stated at the start, it is for you to make up your own minds.