The Eastern Caribbean nation of Grenada consists of three islands- Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique which form the southern end of the Windward Islands. The country is a popular tourist destination with untapped forests and beautiful beaches. In addition, Grenada is the world’s second largest producer of nutmeg after Indonesia. Other crops for export include mace (a by-product of nutmeg) cocoa, citrus fruits, bananas, cloves, and cinnamon. In this regard, climate change is an existential threat to Grenada. Increasing frequency and intensity of coastal storms threatens infrastructure and livelihoods, as do increased risk of coastal flooding and drought. Notably, Hurricane Ivan in 2004 caused damages of over 200 percent of GDP.
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Fast forward to 2019 when the world experienced the devastating effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic. Like many other governments globally, responses to the pandemic included closure of borders and other internal restrictions. The decision to close the country to international commercial traffic between March and August 2020 was part of the initial measures utilized to keep the number of cases under control. Unfortunately, these restrictions severely impacted the country’s GDP since tourism accounts for 80 per cent of the exports of the country and 57 per cent of its economy.
To tackle the impact of the pandemic in 2020, the government rolled out an emergency relief programme worth 2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent to US$23 million. Under an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, government expenditures declined from 29.2 to 21.6 per cent of GDP between 2014 and 2019. As a consequence of the cuts, health care spending declined from 2.2 to 2.0 per cent of GDP between 2014 and 2017. This left the health care sector with limited resources to contain the pandemic when it arrived.
In December 2020, the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved the US$25 Million Grenada COVID 19 Crisis Response and Fiscal Management Development Policy Credit. The World Bank reports that the quick-disbursing financing will support the country’s efforts to respond to the COVID 19 crisis.