Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, (centre) addresses the media at a press briefing to announce Foromic XV 2012 at Government Headquarters. Also pictured at left is Chief, Knowledge and Strategic Communications Unit, Multilateral Investment Fund, Alfredo Giro Quincke and Inter-American Development Bank Resident Representative, Joel Branski.

Barbados is set to host a major finance and small business conference next October.

This was announced in a press briefing by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, at Government Headquarters today.

Foromic XV 2012 will be held here from October 1-3 and it is a leading annual microenterprise development event for Latin America and the Caribbean. It is being organised by the Barbados government, in conjunction with the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN), which is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It is set to attract up to 1,300 delegates.

In his remarks, Mr. Sinckler, whose Ministry will have lead responsibility for organising the event, admitted that the staging of the conference would not be an easy undertaking for a small country such as Barbados, but said he "was supremely confident" that this country could execute it with "the style and panache that we have become accustomed to".

He added that it would be the first time that the English speaking Caribbean would be hosting the conference and it represented the culmination of a process that was started more than two years ago under the former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, David Thompson.

Mr. Sinckler described the event as a "single honour for Barbados and the English speaking Caribbean," noting that it would also "give a welcome shot in-the- arm to the low season of tourism", and would necessitate having to source approximately 800 hotels rooms to be able to accommodate the delegates and their families.

Consequently, he called on all Barbadians to assist in making the conference a resounding success. "We have to mobilise literally the entire country to be able to pull this off in the way in which Barbadians and the rest of the world have come to know Barbados as a conference destination of the highest possible quality and standard," he declared.

He further outlined that the best team of conference organisers would be employed to look at themes, agendas for plenary sessions and branding for the conference and indicated that major agencies involved in transport, translation, tourism, utility services, and investment would be used.

The Finance Minister said that he was extremely elated that the IDB had confidence that Barbados could host an event of such magnitude.

In turn, IDB Resident Representative, Joel Branski, said: "As you know small business plays a big role in our economies. They generate a large number of jobs, [and] provide a range of vital goods and services. They contribute to the creation of national wealth; [and] they provide a unique pathway to alleviate poverty in the region.

"Supporting those businesses in the Caribbean and Latin America is one of the most important mandates of the IDB. The Foromic has become the leading annual microfinance development event in the Caribbean and Latin America."

He added that Barbados would be making history and he said that the event would also foster integration.

Some of the main issues on the agenda will involve youth, women and entrepreneurship; development of inclusive business in rural areas; over-indebtedness, transparency and client protection in microfinance; innovative areas; public policies and regional integration and branchless banking and technologies for financial inclusion.


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