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The packaging and promotion of any product or service is critical to attract customers and gain sales.  The same is true for investment opportunities.  The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), in partnership with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) recently hosted a training workshop in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) focused on improving the quality of investment project information to make them more attractive to potential investors.

From left: UNIDO Trainer – Dr. Umesh Menon, Suzette Hudson, Senior Advisor – Investment Promotion (Caribbean Export), Junior Minister Sharie de Castro, Lizette George – Policy Advisor in the Office of the Premier (BVI)

The 5-day training workshop was delivered by UNIDO with a focus on enhancing the capacity of the Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) to better identify investment opportunities, as well as the formulation and appraisal of investment projects. “The need of developing countries in upgrading local skills and capabilities in the preparation and appraisal of pre-investment studies, calls for appropriate capacity building support, including adequate human resource development,” notes Dr. Umesh Menon, UNIDO trainer for the workshop.

The 22 Caribbean participants from 16 Caribbean territories were trained in the use of the flagship software of UNIDO – Computer Model for Feasibility Analysis and Reporting (COMFAR III Expert- Basic Version). COMFAR facilitates the fast computation of financial statements needed for financial and economic appraisal of investment projects. The software can be used for small- to large-scale projects, expansion, rehabilitation and modernization of existing enterprises and joint ventures.

Commenting at the opening of the workshop, the Jr. Minister for Trade & Economic Development of the BVI, Sharie B. de Castro, shared that, “The BVI is in the process of establishing our Trade and Investment Promotion Agency. It is important to us to develop a core group of professionals who are well versed in investment project identification, preparation and appraisal. This will ultimately lead to well-planned investment projects and prudent investment decisions.”

“Caribbean Export is committed to enhancing the knowledge and skills of the IPAs of the Caribbean,” commented Suzette Hudson, Senior Advisor in Investment Promotion at the Agency. “This training forms part of a broader collaborative framework that CAIPA and UNIDO have established with the aim to provide investment monitoring and promotion support to IPAs in the region and strengthen regional investment promotion efforts.

The workshop was funded by the European Union via the 11th European Development Fund, Regional Private Sector Development Programme and the European Development Fund/Intra-ACP Private Sector Development Facilities and Programmes.

Participating countries included: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.