Caribbean Economics Quarterly: Volume 11, Issue 2: Finance for Firms: Options for Improving Access and Inclusion
This edition of the Caribbean Economics Quarterly (Q2-2022) is a collaboration between the IDBs Caribbean Country Department and IDB Invest, which focuses on firms access to finance. The report begins by considering both the nature and history of the regions financial sector development, highlighting key measures of financial access and adequacy. It then leverages enterprise survey data developed by the Compete Caribbean partnership to assess legacy and emerging challenges facing firms from across the region, including those owned and/or operated by women. Newly available data from 2020 are compared with a previous vintage of the surveys from 2014, providing important insights into how circumstances have evolved, especially considering the COVID-19 shock. The analysis suggests that: (i) financial sectors and firms across the Caribbean face outsized challenges, particularly when compared to peers across the globe; (ii) the COVID-19 crisis appears to have further constrained access to finance; (iii) smaller firms appear to face more significant hurdles than larger ones; and, (iv) women-owned and/or operated firms face more severe challenges with respect to financial access than other firms across the region. Policies and reforms with the potential to improve financial development, access, and inclusion are highlighted, as well as successful examples of IDB support and collaboration in related areas across the Latin American and Caribbean region.