Caribbean Countries Seek to Increase FDIs

Fourteen Caribbean countries are currently participating in a three-day regional workshop in Jamaica, through which the World Bank hopes to assist in promoting foreign direct investments (FDI) in the region.
FDI is investment of foreign assets in domestic structures, equipment and organisations. The workshop, which began Wednesday (October 20) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, aims at enhancing the facilitation capabilities of investment promotion agencies across the region, by upgrading skills and systems.
It will also help agencies to develop institution-specific action plans for strengthening their enquiry handling and upgrading their websites. Assistance will be provided by the Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group, which helps governments implement reforms to improve their business environment and encourage and retain investments.
President of JAMPRO, Sancia Bennett-Templer, said that the training sessions will have a significant impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of investment promotion agencies in the region.
Citing a 2010 World Bank report, Mrs. Bennett-Templer said that, as the world begins to recover from the effects of the global recession, investment facilitation will become of paramount importance to securing inward foreign direct investment, especially as it relates to the facilitation and approvals process and the acceleration of project permits and licences.
She said she was thankful the workshop will offer practical training and guidance in the facilitation of investments.
Senior Investment Promotion Advisor at CAIPA, Dixie Rampersad-Pfister, noted that as most of the countries in the Caribbean try to attract FDI with limited resources, there is more need to retool and sharpen techniques of investment attraction in a globally competitive environment.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, noted that given the small economies, market size and lack of resource base, which make developing countries and small member states less attractive to investors, investment promotion officers will have to be more aggressive and effective to lure FDIs into their respective economies.
Investment Promotion Officer, Investment Climate Advisory Services, World Bank group, Celia Ortega-Sotes, noted that 80 per cent of the countries in the world miss investment opportunities, because they do not respond to investors who knock on their doors.
She lamented that investors who are seeking information to put together a business plan to make a decision on where to locate investments are not finding that information, although the countries have investment promotion agencies which put much effort into promoting the country.
In the Caribbean, investors have a 50/50 chance of getting a response to a project inquiry, she said. She also pointed out that because there is a worldwide downturn, the region has to make a greater effort to capture those that are active.
“We hope that at the end of the three days, you will leave this room feeling that you have the skills to capture more projects and provide effective facilitation,” she concluded.
The workshop was put on by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the Work Bank Group, and the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), under the theme “Winning FDI Through Effective Facilitation: Global Investment Promotion Benchmarking at Work”. It was designed to transfer IFC’s technical expertise and explore international best practices, as well as promote regional co-operation.
It brought together representatives from Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

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