Belize City, Belize, November 21, 2013.

The 4th Annual Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) General Assembly, held under the theme ‘Towards an Enhanced Foreign Direct Investment Strategy: Strengthening our Foundation and Honouring Regional Excellence’, commenced on November 21, 2013 with participation from Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) across the Caribbean.  Addressing the gathering was a panel of IPA officials, including Michael Singh, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Trade and Investment for the Government of Belize.

During his brief and spirited remarks, Singh emphasized a need for more to be done regionally by way of promoting the Caribbean as a trade and investment destination.  Ronald Theodore, President of the CAIPA, also echoed that sentiment.  “The shared objective”, said Theodore, “can be achieved by member countries working together to build capacity through training and research development”. Also in attendance was Paul Wessendorp, Chief of the Investment Climate Division at UNCTAD.

CAIPA’s goal for the event was the development of a Strategic and Sustainability Plan, a four-year course of action to enhance regional cooperation in investment promotion, strengthen the capacity of the investment promotion agencies to attract investment projects, reduce costs through collaborative efforts in information gathering and information monitoring systems, as well as actively promote information exchange amongst its nineteen members. Additionally, the two-day AGM focused on several laudable accomplishments over the past year, including training of its members by the World Bank in investor facilitation, the procurement of investment tracking software and regional efforts at joint investment promotion with the attendance at a hotel investment conference in Miami.

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) plays an integral role in utilising donor funding in aiding the growth of the private sector within the region.  Represented by Christopher Lewis, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Caribbean Export and Chris McNair, Manager Competitiveness and Innovation mention was made of Caribbean Export’s support to CAIPA and the IPAs of the region.  According to McNair, CAIPA, has to take a critical look at its future since its financial resources, supported under the 10th Economic Development Fund (EDF) by the European Union, comes to an end in 2015.  Members of the organization, he said, need to strategically figure out what is CAIPA, what is the vision and how they are going to sustain that idea as a long-term objective. The Association was therefore lauded for its efforts to develop such a Strategy for the next 5 years with a focus on sustainability.

For additional information about CAIPA please contact Suzette Hudson, Senior Investment Promotion Advisor [email protected].

Pictured above: Attendees of the 4th CAIPA Annual General Meeting in Belize