The Role of the Private Sector in Regional Economic Development came under the microscope yesterday, as the Caribbean Export Development Agency held a panel discussion as part of its Caribbean Exporters??? Colloquium 2014, at Hilton Barbados.

Barbados??? Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, noted that ???the regional private sector has and continues to play a vital role in regional development???, especially in the areas of advocacy and action.

She said: ???This perspective, of course, recognises that the private sector has to undertake these roles, acting independently as it exists and functions on a day-to-day basis as a key economic sector. In addition, it operates as a stakeholder engaging the public sector.

???Therefore, the private sector, through its representative bodies, must also seek to ensure that the necessary conditions are developed and maintained to foster a positive contribution, and a large part of that mandate of course would be the role of advocacy.???

The Minister noted that the sector should seek to contribute to economic development by focusing on the multilateral level. Stating that it was important to recognise that regional development did not occur in a vacuum, the Foreign Trade Minister explained that the region???s private sector, when it pursued its interests and contributed to economic development, was doing so within the context of global realities.

The delegates also heard that within the context of the United Nations system, for example, there was a critical role for the private sector to seek to influence regional policy and by extension, global policy.

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