Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean (left) and Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, Pamela Coke Hamilton, initialling the Host Country Agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade recently. (A.Gaskin/BGIS)

Barbados has signed on to a Host Country Agreement with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) to receive support for private sector development.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, and Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, recently signed the agreement in the Ministry’s conference room, Culloden Road.

Senator McClean stated that she was very pleased that after 20 years, both parties had finally signed an official agreement “formally documenting the facilitation efforts”.

“I am happy to say that the Government of Barbados was able to offer to the agency the high level of support that we have deemed appropriate for our regional and international partners.

“Caribbean Export was established in November 1996 and since then, it has been, and still is, the only regional trade and investment promotion agency in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, and that is an important indicator of its significance and value,” she shared.

The Minister noted that there was a long partnership between the agency, the country and the region, and it was a “shining example” of the CARICOM, CARIFORUM and the European Union partnership.

Mrs. Coke-Hamilton said that her agency was pleased to formalise its position, and looked forward to continuing to support the Government of Barbados and its private sector.

She said that to date, Caribbean Export has assisted over 500 beneficiaries from Barbados with work programme-based initiatives, and subsequently, has spent over $1.8 million supporting private sector development on the island.

“As we ramp up the 11th EDF work programme, we hope to continue our support to Barbadian companies. We have already supported a number of Barbadian companies to get grants via the LINK-Caribbean Angel investment programme, and I would encourage any early-stage company that is in need of financial support to explore this programme,” she advised.

The Executive Director thanked Senator McClean for her continued support over the years and expressed the hope that Barbados would continue to move in a direction that “promotes a strong and vibrant private sector”.

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