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Delegates at a Caribbean workshop to help attract investment and support entrepreneurs

Caribbean workshop designed to help attract investment and support entrepreneurs

8 April 2019

The Commonwealth has been working alongside two Caribbean agencies on how the region’s business climate can be improved to help entrepreneurs and encourage investment.

Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), in partnership with the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) held a two-day workshop in Barbados running from 9 – 10 April. Participants discussed how best to improve the business climate in the Caribbean with a focus on strengthening procedures to start a business in the region

Speaking at the event, Commonwealth trade advisor Opeyemi Abebe said: “Creating an enabling environment to facilitate investment through regulatory reforms is critical for small states with limited ability to offer incentives for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) attraction.

“At the Commonwealth we are committed to helping our developing and small member states address challenges faced in facilitating investment and building that capacity to implement some key interventions that Governments can execute to improve the business climate for attracting investment.

“The Commonwealth funded the execution of a study to assess the procedures for starting a business in the 12 Caribbean member states and developed action plans for each country on how these processes can be reformed and digitalised to improve the business climate. “

Workshop participants included senior officials and heads of government agencies from Antigua and Barbuda; the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

Jamaica currently ranks among the top 10 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report for starting a business and was considered as a regional case study on how the other countries could reform their processes.

Caribbean Export senior advisor on investment promotion, Suzette Hudson, said: “Our focus will be three-fold. We want to assess the current procedures, cost and time to start a business in the Caribbean, guided by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, review global best practices with a focus on Jamaica and, finally, develop action plans or next steps for what will be implemented in the near-term.”

“It is hoped that in the future we can continue to work with CAIPA to tackle other hurdles that are negatively affecting or may negatively affect the attraction of investment into the Caribbean.”

Participants reviewed the report on business climate reform and the action plans developed for each country. Recommendations will soon be presented to the Heads of Government for endorsement and implementation.