Attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) from European investors for some of the Caribbean’s most promising projects was the aim of the Caribbean Investment Summit 2015 (CIS) hosted by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) last week. After a full day of presentations showcasing the attractiveness of investing in the Caribbean to 100 pre-qualified interested parties, several Caribbean projects are a step closer to receiving the investment needed.
Funded by the European Union, within the framework of the 10th European Development Fund, Regional Private Sector Development Programme and the Haiti Dominican Republic Binational Programme, Caribbean Export welcomed H.E. the Right Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of the Bahamas at the opening ceremony. He underscored that the Caribbean had recovered well from the financial crisis and that there are significant opportunities in renewable energy and tourism, among others. In addition, he indicated that there have been increased efforts in the region to strengthen human capital to support the attraction of FDI and that innovation and public private partnerships are being used by Caribbean countries to attract FDI.
Ms. Pamela Coke Hamilton in her remarks emphasized the continued role of her Agency in promoting and supporting a collaborative approach to attracting FDI into the Caribbean. Ms. Coke Hamilton emphasised the success of the region in supporting successes such as Grace Kennedy, Digicel and Tucker Energy Services (TES). She noted the many reasons investors have chosen the Caribbean highlighting that “…among their top priorities are location, openness of trade, infrastructural developments, a skilled labour force, economic and political stability, and flexible incentives.”
Mr. McHale Andrew, President of the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) disclosed for those present the results of 2 studies undertaken on investor perception in the region. He noted that based on the findings, investors came to the region to take advantage of the market access and the political and economic stability the region provides. Mr. Andrew underscored the fact that the Caribbean is second only to the OECD countries in Trading Across Borders and Protection of Investors indicators in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report of 2014. He also noted that as many as 81% of existing investors are reinvesting or plan to reinvest in the Caribbean and that 71% of investors polled would be likely or very likely to recommend the Caribbean host country’s business climate.
The CIS also presented an excellent opportunity to collaborate with fDi Magazine of the Financial Times with its editor in chief Ms Courtney Fingar serving as compère for the event and officially presenting the top 10 Caribbean IPAs in fDi Magazine’s recently announced Caribbean and Central American Countries of the Future rankings. Among the top performers in the region was the Dominican Republic, receiving recognition for its Connectivity, FDI Strategy, Economic Potential, Cost effectiveness and Business Friendliness; Trinidad who was the winner for Cost Effectiveness and among the top 10 for its FDI Strategy, Connectivity and Business Friendliness; Barbados, who ranked among the top 10 for FDI Strategy, Cost Effectiveness and Human Capital and Lifestyle; and Jamaica, the winner of FDI Strategy and among the top 10 for Connectivity and Business Friendliness. Also receiving awards for FDI strategy and Cost Effectiveness were: the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada.
The Investment Promotion Agencies present at the event were: the Bahamas Investment Authority, BelizeInvest, the Centre for Export and Investment in the Dominican Republic, the Centre for the Facilitation of Investments in Haiti, the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation, Invest Saint Lucia and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).