A range of opportunities in the form of projects for private sector investment have been identified by the recently-formed Commission of the Economy to return CARICOM countries to a path of sustainable growth and economic resilience.

But, said Minister in the Prime Minister???s Office, Senator Darcy Boyce, there was no time to wait for such projects to be developed only at the regional level. ???We cannot postpone the effort to generate economic growth and employment and thus to build economic resilience,??? he said.

He was at the time delivering the keynote address on the topic: A Case for Building Economic Resilience in the Caribbean, during the opening ceremony of the second annual Caribbean Exporters??? Colloquium at Hilton Barbados.

Senator Boyce, also Commission Chair, explained that it was recognised that macroeconomic stability was not sufficient to be a catalyst for growth in CARICOM States.

As a result, new private sector investment opportunities were identified in the areas of energy, tourism, information and communications technology and infrastructure, to generate growth and employment. Similar opportunities are also being explored in agriculture, the agro industry, and the international business and financial services sectors.

Mr. Boyce explained that the initiatives were being examined from a number of perspectives, including short-term projects which could be implemented within a year; private sector investment at the local and foreign level; starting projects with countries that were ready; grouping infrastructure projects in several countries into large investment blocks; and achieving investment in economic growth without adding to the fiscal strain and debt burden of countries.

However, he did not dismiss the fact that there was a need to improve business processes to best standards in public administration and private sector operations. ???In seeking to build economic resilience, we have to fine-tune our focus between growth and balance between sectors in our economies,??? the Minister pointed out.

He added all sectors, traded and non-traded, must be efficient in terms of their use of foreign exchange, and grounded in sound competitiveness and world class productivity.

???For all these reasons, we have to make sure that our societies remain stable, our economies become more innovative, and our producing units become stronger and more aggressive,??? the Senator stressed.

Head of the European Union delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, commended the host organisation, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), for this year???s Colloquium, which places emphasis on the role of private sector-led growth and development in building economic resilience in the Caribbean.

However, he pointed out that building economic resilience was a process which took time and involved a complex array of players and actions working in tandem.


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