Jamaica Owes The Most Money To IMF in The Caribbean

Lately, the tiny island of Jamaica has been topping some lists not worth celebrating; this latest list topped by the rich cultural country is debt owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by a Caribbean nation.

Despite the countless warnings from local economists and financial experts for Jamaica to bypass the IMF in the past more loans were taken out. The IMF did extend the number of years required to pay back loans.

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The IMF is infamously known for leaving many countries financially devasted after years of loans and strict austerity policies, according to many financial experts across the globe. As of February 2023, Jamaica reportedly owes over USD$700,000,000.00 to the IMF, which puts its debt-to-GDP ratio at 94% to top the list.

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Jamaica’s long and tumultuous relationship with the IMF began back in 1963, and this relationship only seems to be getting stronger. Jamaica has taken advantage up to this day of the many loans provided by the IMF slated to help boost its economy. But the challenge lies in the repayment of these loans.

According to a report via Caribean Lifestyle by J-Irie, Jamaica entered into two standby agreements with the IMF in the 1970s, which required the country to alter its fiscal policies to receive loans and assistance that ultimately impacted Jamaica’s economy negatively, as they found it even more problematic to repay the previous loans.

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As the debate rages on about the effectiveness of the IMF loans, many argue that the stringent austerity measures that come along with the loans usually strangle economic growth and put a constant financial strain on the country’s working-class demography.

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Rounding out the top five Caribbean countries with the highest debt owed to the IMF are 2nd Dominican Republic USD$682,204,600 owed, 3rd Barbados USD$480,394,075.00 owed, 4th Haiti USD$276,771,292.20 owed, and 5th the Bahamas USD$260,649,600.00 owed.

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