The financial services sector continues to be a vital sector for the development of Caribbean Economies, as such that financial Services are the second largest contributors to gross domestic product (GDP) in the Caribbean region. The leading Caribbean Forum countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) involved in International financial services are The Bahamas and Barbados, along with Antigua and St. Lucia who register the largest contribution of financial services to GDP of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries. In 2011 the financial services sector contributed over 20 per cent to GDP in Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and the Bahamas. The importance of the industry to the region is further illustrated considering that it represented 17% of GDP for the CARIFORUM region in 2011. This is why Caribbean Export is particularly interested in the development of the financial services sector.
Given the importance of this sector, CARIFORUM countries are increasingly challenged to remain competitive through repositioning their industries within the context of constantly evolving international standards. In order to address the pertinent issues affecting this important sector Caribbean Export has been involved in several initiatives. In this regard, the Agency has been at the forefront of the establishment of a Task Force for the Promotion and Protection of the Caribbean Financial Sector (TFP-CFS) mandated by CARIFORUM governments.
The Agency’s flagship intervention for the sector is the Caribbean Conference on the International Financial Services Sector in the Caribbean Region which has been hosted in partnership with the CARICOM Secretariat. This year the Conference will be held in the Bahamas, during the period March 31- April 2, 2014.
For 2014 it is anticipated that the Conference will provide the opportunity:-
- To discuss the full range of global policy measures and initiatives that directly affect the Caribbean IFCs;
- To foster greater recognition and support of the positive work performed by the Caribbean IFCs and facilitate a more collaborative and inclusive process in the redesign of International Financial Architecture;
- To discuss and agree on the road map to facilitate the strengthening and development of the industry;
- To discuss the work and strategic direction of the Task Force for the Promotion and Protection of the Caribbean Financial Sector (TFP-CFS) charged with leading the regional agenda.