Government and business officials in Barbados and other regional states are being urged to ramp up their efforts to construct more resilient economies.
The decision got here as one among the Caribbean’s leading promotion and investment agencies pushes for greater foreign direct investment in some key sectors within the region.
On Tuesday, the Caribbean Export Development Agency officially launched the Caribbean Investment Forum, which is scheduled to happen in Trinidad from November 8 to 11 and is anticipated to be one among the biggest face-to-face gatherings of business officials within the Caribbean since 2019.
Throughout the launching ceremony, Manager of Competitiveness and Export Promotion at Caribbean Export, Dr Damie Sinanan stressed the importance of constructing more resilient and diversified economies within the region.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that it can’t be business as usual, not only within the Caribbean region but globally. Now we have to think otherwise, we have now to act otherwise, we have now to diversify our economies and give attention to innovation, green energy, construct resilience and construct sustainability because we don’t know what the longer term holds for us,” he said.
Sinanan noted that the Caribbean was vulnerable to several shocks, including natural disasters, geopolitical instability and other global challenges.
Nevertheless, citing the region’s ability to “bounce back fairly quickly” from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, he expressed confidence that governments and business leaders can partner to construct resilience across various sectors.
Acknowledging that there’s stiff competition amongst countries globally with regards to attracting more foreign direct investment, Sinanan said he believed the region has what it takes to adequately compete, as he pointed to the stable political climate, an informed population, and supportive governments and investment promotion agencies.
“The Caribbean can’t be left behind. Now we have to place our greatest foot forward to point out what we have now to supply in order that the eager investor with the capital, the know-how and the projects can come to the Caribbean region and establish their presence,” he said.
The Caribbean Investment Forum is anticipated to bring together greater than 400 regional and international investors, national promotion agencies, business operators and lawmakers, as officials seek to draw major investment to assist construct a greener and smarter Caribbean.
The forum will give attention to quite a lot of sectors including agriculture technology, renewable energy and energy efficiency, the digital economy, transportation and logistics.
Executive Director of Caribbean Export Deodat Maharaj acknowledged the challenges facing the region, including high debt and climate vulnerability, adding that companies and investment in key sectors had a critical role to play in driving transformation within the region.
“The last two years have demonstrated to us greater than ever that constructing resilience should be the highest priority of our region. The COVID-19 pandemic placed enormous stress on our economies and societies across the Caribbean. One clear recognition has been that business and investments have an important role to play in creating much-needed jobs and opportunities for our people,” said Maharaj.
“At the identical time, for us at Caribbean Export, it’s crystal clear that we’d like to have a forensic give attention to sectors that may drive and advance this transformation.”
Maharaj said sectors of focus during next month’s high-level forum might help to drive the transformation needed within the Caribbean.
He said the time had come for the region to spice up its food security and create more opportunities for young people within the agriculture sector through greater use of technology.
“Boosting investments within the areas of e-commerce, technology and digitalisation is completely critical. Being one of the crucial climate vulnerable regions on the planet, a green economy transition for us will not be an option. It is actually an imperative,” he added.
In relation to transportation and logistics, Maharaj suggested that the private sector should take the lead in constructing out this area.
“To operate as one Caribbean we’d like to have easier transportation and transportation links, however the state cannot proceed to hold the burden of providing much-needed transportation; hence, the critical importance of steering investment our strategy to boost intra-Caribbean transportation,” he said. (MM)