Barbadian businesses and communities are gearing up to benefit from significant opportunities in the energy industry, with the help of the Commonwealth Secretariat and partners.
At a recent ‘share fair’ and workshop event in the capital city of Bridgetown, local suppliers and firms linked up with international energy companies, investors, contractors and project owners, sharing information, ideas for collaboration and opportunities to plug into the energy sector value chain.
Organised from 29 September to 1 October by the Ministry of Energy and Business in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat and supported by the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, the Energy Local Content Workshop and Share Fair is part of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s broader technical assistance as the Government seeks to reform its energy sector.
The initiative comes as Barbados experiences a growing interest in energy investments while also balancing its commitment to being a 100 per cent renewable energy island by 2030 with interest in its potential oil and gas sector.
In this context, Economic Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Victor Kitange, who led the mission to Barbados, emphasised the importance of developing a robust local content policy and legislation for the country.
This would provide a framework for ensuring enhanced benefits to the local economy via employment generation, creation of local business, award of contracts to locals for the supply goods and services, as well as expanding the energy value chain.
“This is an important opportunity for business development in the energy industry in Barbados. Conducting this Share Fair is one of a range of strategies by the Government to address the twin challenge confronting energy local content development in Barbados,” Mr Kitange stated.
“Firstly, lack of market access for local suppliers to business opportunities available in the energy industry, even where local capacity exists. Secondly, building the competitiveness of local suppliers by learning the trade as they participate in the energy industry value chain activities.”
Also speaking at the Share Fair, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Ms Debra Dowridge, said:
“A local capacity-building programme [is] aimed at preparing the local workforce for employment in the emerging oil and gas offshore sector, and the creation of an enabling environment that will empower local businesses to participate effectively in the supply of goods and services to the offshore oil and gas sector and the renewable energy sector.”
“As our country continues on its transition to being a 100 per cent renewable energy island by 2030, the local content policy will be vital in ensuring that we build the capability and capacity of our people and businesses to allow them to compete with other bidders from the international arena, when the opportunities arise,” Ms Dowridge added.
The Share Fair and Workshop featured addresses and presentations by Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Business, Hon. Sandra Husbands, Commonwealth Secretariat Consultant Dr Bede Nwete and Legal Adviser Dr Chilenye Nwapi, along with other officials.
This event followed previous missions conducted by the Secretariat in April and June 2022, as part of ongoing technical assistance provided via the Commonwealth window of the UN-India Development Partnership Fund. This includes support in drafting energy local content policy and legislation, undertaking an industrial survey of local suppliers’ capacity and local content opportunities in the energy sector value chain, as well as conducting consultations with industry stakeholders.
Images courtesy of Government Information Service Barbados
- Josephine Latu-Sanft Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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