First Live Caribbean Rhythm Showcase Sizzles with Regional Talent

The grand ballroom of the Jamaca Pegasus Hotel in Kingston came alive on Sunday night as musical acts from across the region displayed their talent at the second annual Caribbean Rhythm Showcase organised by Jamaican talent agency Headline Entertainment in partnership with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and the European Union.

The musical showcase, which aims to highlight the talents of Caribbean artistes in front of international music executives and other industry players, saw 20 acts representing 13 regional states taking to the stage and mesmerizing both the live in-house audience as well as the thousands who joined the event virtually via various online platforms.

The excitement was palpable throughout the event and continued following the proceedings on stage when guests including the international music industry buyers had the opportunity to have one-on-one time with the artistes in a specially created lounge.

It was all smiles from Allyson Francis of the Caribbean Export. She was absolutely pleased with how the first live staging of the Caribbean Rhythm Showcase had been executed, the talent on display from the region and the reaction from the international buyers and industry execs.

“The truth is we are always taking our artistes to other showcases such as a MIDEM or WOMEX and I said to myself ‘what about a Caribbean Showcase?’ I wanted something where the young, fledgling, fantastic artistes, as we have seen here tonight, who need that platform are given an opportunity. It was not just coming up on the stage and singing, that was just the climax. It took the form of a full three days where they were engaged with buyers, distributors, going through workshops as well. So we were providing them with that capacity building by understanding what is going on in the industry. And -now that we have showcased the talent, we are hoping that we get some deals… there are performances that rocked the place and I know the buyers are ready and eager to speak to these artistes.”

“We just wanted to do something for the Caribbean that was new, different and unique and has an impact,” Francis continued.

She also noted that the impact of the showcase can also be seen in the way it brought the region’s young people and artistes together to showcase not only what the region has to offer, but more importantly the diversity of the offering from the people of the Caribbean.

For Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Sport and Entertainment, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Caribbean Rhythm Showcase is an idea whose time has come.

“I am so overjoyed on what I saw here tonight, it was great. There was such a diverse talent pool showcasing different genres, different musical styles, great voices, just talented people all from our Caribbean region. This is a great way of showcasing the Caribbean talent, getting buyers to come connecting them and helping to build careers.”

As a long-standing player in the music industry herself, Grange said the one piece of advise she would offer the aspiring acts who exhibited their talent on the showcase, was to get the right management structure in place to guide their careers.

“I don’t know how many of these emerging artistes have management. But they must seek good management. This is about management and direction. So a good manager is able to guide you in terms of your focus, you can’t sing everything. You must decide what’s your style, what’s your image, how you are going to be packaged and how you are going to be presented and marketed,” said Grange.

The twenty acts who took to the stage for the international buyers and music industry executives were Lex MD, Kraff , Indie Allen, and PinkFox from Jamaica; the Dominican Republic’s Mariela ‘La Marimba’ Velazquez. Ava Symone Barrett and Khia ‘KEEYA’ Poitier from The Bahamas; Trinidad and Tobago was represented by Dania DANIA’ Duntin, Aisha Noel and Jiselle ‘Jiselle Singer’ Singh; Arien Seaton from Antigua and Barbuda; Rhea ‘SugahRhe’ Ellis from Barbados; Colton ‘Colton T’ Thomas from the Commonwealth of Dominica; Ryan ‘Riggy Atmosphere’ Riggs from Grenada; Erica Edwards from St Kitts and Nevis; Javid ‘Jay-R’ Rouse, Krystian Mark and Derron ‘Magikal’ Rouse from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jesse ‘Justos’ Nelson from Saint Lucia; and Jackie ‘Jaxx’ Hanover from Guyana

The Caribbean Investment Forum Presents A New Period of Transformation for the Region

  • Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF) focused on building a SMARTer, GREENer Caribbean
  • The event seeks to attract over 450 enterprises and investors
  • CIF to take place in Trinidad and Tobago over the period 8-11th November 2022

Start any conversation with anybody, anywhere in the World, and ask “What comes to mind when you hear, The Caribbean”? Invariably, they envisage white sand beaches, cruise ships, Pina Colada’s, reggae music and by extension Bob Marley, food, weddings…back to the beaches.

The region has long held its identity as a tourism juggernaut in the global travel industry.

While it is an identity that will continue to benefit Caribbean Communities for decades to come, over the past few years regional leaders have made distinct decisions that build Brand Caribbean’s assets beyond beaches and beers into more sustainable industries of commerce.

With the COVID-19 pandemic entering its 3rd year, Caribbean leaders are urgently moved to action opportunities that support the sustainable development of island communities.

The Caribbean Investment Forum is a high-level business-focused event designed to present and explore these investment opportunities across the region. The regional forum is organized by the Caribbean Export Development Agency in collaboration with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, CARICOM, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies and with the support of the European Union.

Taking place, the 8-11th of November 2022, at the Hyatt Regency in Trinidad and Tobago, it is a launching pad for thought leaders keen on accruing the benefits of first-mover advantages in this developing space. The Caribbean Investment Forum connects key regional decision-makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs with the World’s most influential investors.

Under the theme Building A SMARTer, GREENer, Caribbean, stakeholders learn and explore some of the most attractive investment opportunities in technology, agriculture, renewable energy, and innovation; Projects that will improve the lives of over 30 Million Caribbean People in the 23 Countries across the Region and in the global diaspora.

Visit our website: www.caribbeaninvestmentforum.com

JA’s Indie Allen, T&T’s Aisha Noel in the 20 selected for Caribbean Rhythm Showcase 2022

The judges have spoken and tomorrow, Jamaica will welcome a consortium of Caribbean artistes to participate alongside some of our local talent in the Caribbean Rhythm Showcase hosted by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in cooperation with the European Union.

The artistes will perform their original music from a myriad of Caribbean genres including Reggae, Dancehall, Pop, Soca, Afro Beats, Neo Soul Beats as well as Caribbean fusion for the second annual staging of the Caribbean Rhythm Showcase.

“The music sector presents numerous opportunities for sustainable, inclusive economic growth and diversification in the Caribbean and after the resounding success of the first edition of the Caribbean Rhythm Showcase, we are excited to again provide a platform for the region’s artistes in various genres, to share their culture and creativity with international industry executives,” said Allyson Francis, Services Specialist at Caribbean Export.

A total of 20 emerging acts originating in and around the region were selected from more than 250 submissions in the preliminary round. Among those selected for the showcase are: – soulful Reggae fusion singer Indie Allen from Jamaica, named by popular digital streaming platform Pandora one of the ‘Caribbean Artiste to Watch’ for 2022 and Trinidad and Tobago Soca star with close to two million subscribers on YouTube Aisha Noel, known for her breakthrough single ‘Nobody Be Safe’.

Jamaica has three other artistes representing the country in the Reggae, Dancehall and Afrobeats genre, that is Lex MD, Kraff and PinkFox respectively. Also in the West Indies, coming from the Dominican Republic is Mariela ‘La Marimba’ Velazquez. The Bahamians Ava Symone Barrett and Khia ‘KEEYA’ Poitier are bringing Caribbean Pop flavour.

The Eastern Caribbean islands are all represented in the final cut. Trinidad and Tobago also has Dania ‘DANIA’ Duntin and Jiselle ‘Jiselle Singer’ Singh in the Caribbean Fusion category. Rounding off the group, artistes from there is Arien Seaton from Antigua and Barbuda, Rhea ‘SugahRhe’ Ellis from Barbados, Colton ‘Colton T’ Thomas from the Commonwealth of Dominica, Ryan ‘Riggy Atmosphere’ Riggs from Grenada, Erica Edwards from St Kitts and Nevis, Javid ‘Jay-R’ Rouse, Krystian Mark and Derron ‘Magikal’ Rouse from St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Jesse ‘Justos’ Nelson from Saint Lucia. There is also Jackie. ‘Jaxx’ Hanover.

It will be a test of talent, creativity, delivery and perseverance as these promising talents meet up in the ‘Music Capital of the Caribbean’ and already the Skool Band members, who will be taking the finalists through the rehearsal period in preparation for their performances in front of a judging panel on Sunday, September 18, are keyed up to work with them.

Skool Band leader Desi Jones revealed that rehearsals have already started. “We’re locked in rehearsals to prepare ourselves ahead of the arrival of the artistes. I am quite impressed with the pool of talent and we look forward to backing each of the acts as they perform their original songs,” asserts Jones.

This year’s dynamic judging panel is comprised of Mickey Dread from Barbados, DJ Umba from Trinidad and Tobago, Luke Boyea from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Henry Luc of Haiti and a trio of Jamaicans including Steve Locke, Collin Hines and Mickey Bennett supported by Caribbean Export and Headline Entertainment representatives.

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Caribbean food producers taste success at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2022

  • ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ stand attracts interest from major UK and European retailers.
  • Over 70 leads were generated including a distribution deal in Ireland for Belize’s ‘Naledo’.
  • Ten Caribbean companies exhibited at the Fair under the ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ pavilion.

Caribbean food and drink was one of the hottest attractions at the recently concluded Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2022 at London’s Olympia.

Ten regional companies exhibited at the event from 5th-6th September under the ‘Absolutely Caribbean’ pavilion and their unique products drew in buyers from leading stores across the UK and Europe looking to capitalise on the growing demand for innovative flavours.

Representatives from Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Fortnum & Mason, Whole Foods Market, Turtle Bay Restaurants, and Wanis International Foods, came to the booth to sample a range of products made with indigenous ingredients including hot pepper sauces, turmeric paste, jellies, jams, tea, beer and rum.

Several convenience stores, delicatessens, chefs, food bloggers, and wholesalers also took an interest in the Caribbean stand, which was one of the busiest throughout the two-day trade event. The pavilion was also visited by three-time Caribbean Chef of the Year Collin Brown, and Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, founder of ‘The Black Farmer’ food range.

Over 70 leads were generated from the event for Caribbean artisan producers hoping to increase exports.

Anastasha Elliott, owner of St Kitts-based company Sugar Town Organics, said she was “thankful” for the opportunity. She added: “It was my first time showcasing our food brand ‘Flauriel’ on this type of stage. The feedback, queries, and reviews opened my eyes to possibilities I had not considered before when it came to my food brand.”

Lafleur Little from Vincentian brand Pringa’s commented on the number of people who enjoyed sampling their sauces, seasonings, and jellies. She said: “Persons from the UK are really venturing out of their comfort zone and trying more spicy foods. It was a pleasure to serve them Pringa’s line of sauces and condiments. I know they enjoyed it because most came back for seconds. They couldn’t believe they were getting all these beautiful flavours from sauces and condiments.”

Caribbean food was already creating a buzz at the Fair after Naledo’s ‘Truly Turmeric’ whole root paste, and CariBelle Foods’ ‘Lime & Mango Dip’ were chosen as ingredients for two live cooking demonstrations. These breakout sessions, led by renowned chef and consultant Steve Walpole, captured the imagination of attendees and boosted the profile of these products even further.

Naledo’s Chief Operating Officer, Nareena Switlo, said she was “thrilled” at the response to the company’s turmeric paste along with interest in their brand story which focuses on partnering with hundreds of Belizean farmers, and maintaining a sustainable and equitable supply chain.

As a direct result of the Fair, Naledo secured dozens of leads as well as a deal with a distributor in Ireland (subject to negotiations).

Ms Switlo adds: “We also have orders from some independent stores and meetings to arrange with larger distributors and retailers. So, stay tuned to see what we cook up!

“We would like to thank the Caribbean Export Development Agency for arranging the booth and supporting all the producers who attended. It was a fantastic business trip that will result in Naledo expanding further into UK and European markets.”

Ten Caribbean companies took part in the Fair with the support of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union – Superb Blend (Barbados), Old Duppy (Barbados), Naledo (Belize), Kalembu (The Dominican Republic), Shavuot (Jamaica), Flauriel (St Kitts and Nevis), Pringa’s (St Vincent and the Grenadines), St Lucia Distillers (St Lucia), the Antillia Brewing Company (St Lucia), and CariBelle Foods (Trinidad and Tobago).

Twenty emerging acts selected for the 2022 staging of Caribbean Rhythm Showcase

That’s right, a total of 20 fledging artistes will perform their original music from a myriad of Caribbean genres including Reggae, Dancehall, Pop, Soca, Afro Beats, Neo Soul Beats as well as Caribbean fusion for the second annual staging of the Caribbean Rhythm Showcase.

These 20 acts come from more than 250 submissions in the preliminary round and represent 13 countries in total. The diverse talent has roots in Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in cooperation with the European Union introduced the noteworthy platform for performing artistes across the region to demonstrate their uniqueness and creativity virtually, whereby they would be exposed to professionals within the music industry in anticipation of developing their careers to a global standard.

Those who are part of the final selection have now been invited to participate in an innovative and eclectic showcase to be staged in Kingston, Jamaica on Sunday, September 18, in front of a live audience consisting of international producers, label representatives and other talent buyers.

The Caribbean Rhythm Showcase will be livestreamed on YouTube. Immediately following the live Showcase, registered industry executives have the opportunity to directly interact with the artistes via Zoom.

“The cultural and creative industries are important sectors for the region. Our orange economy has the potential to contribute significantly to the transformation of the Caribbean if we leverage the opportunities presented through digitalisation” shared Allyson Francis, Services Specialist at Caribbean Export.

This year’s dynamic judging panel is comprised of Mikey Dread from Barbados, DJ Umba from Trinidad and Tobago, Luke Boyea from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Henry Luc of Haiti and a trio of Jamaicans including Steve Locke, Collin Hines and Mikie Bennett supported by CEDA and Headline Entertainment representatives.

“The Caribbean Rhythm Showcase team is on a mission to put talent on display, have them gain pragmatic exposure and create a wide range of opportunities for them to engage and collaborate with other regional musicians which will by way of the platform generate international interest in our region’s greatest product – our creative people,” says Jerome Hamilton, Managing Director of Headline Entertainment.

“Last year, the biggest highlight for me was definitely the presentation put on by a number of artistes and us being able to bring all the talents with varied backgrounds under one banner. It created a great kaleidoscope of some of the talent across the Caribbean,” he added.

In addition to having an opportunity to travel to the proclaimed ‘Music Capital of the Caribbean’ the individuals selected are expected to participate in a whirlwind of activities prior to the live showcase, engage with various members of the music industry, and will undergo gruelling rehearsals with the internationally acclaimed Skool Band in preparation for their performances.

In partnership with the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Ministry of Gender, Culture, Entertainment and Sports, JAMPO and other partners, the visitors will tour local attractions, participate in industry talks and attend Kingston-based events.

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Absolutely Caribbean Steals the Show at Speciality and Fine Food Fair

  • Ten Caribbean artisan producers showcased at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair.
  • Over 10,000 visitors attended the international food and drinks trade fair.
  • Caribbean Export commits to continuing to support the export of Caribbean produce internationally.

Caribbean Export supported ten food and drink producers to participate at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair at the Olympia London, UK.  The group of Caribbean firms showcased under a highly visible Absolutely Caribbean pavilion that drew the attention of chefs, trade buyers, press and, bloggers.

At the end of a busy first day of the show, participating companies had nothing but praise for their first in-person trade show since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Great first day at the Specialty & Fine Food Fair with an exceptional reception of our brand and products. The market has definitely acquired a taste for some Hauntingly Flavourful Old Duppy” shared Nick Bynoe from Old Duppy Barbados.

Hesma Tyson, from CariBelle Foods echoed this sentiment stating “Great first day. So much positive feedback on our products.  This market is not shy from sampling spicy food.  Glad for this opportunity.”

Tyson’s Lime & Mango Dip will also feature in the cooking demonstrations led be top consultant chef Steve Walpole.

Caribbean Export in collaboration with the European Union has been supporting the development of these firms over the past 12 months to prepare for new markets, working with food and drinks retail experts Category Wins. 

Lead expert David Marston shared “A truly spectacular day at a fantastic show, and also a fantastic diversity of opportunities for the finest food and drink producers from the Caribbean; excited to see what day 2 brings and to share some of the Absolutely Caribbean produce with new buyers and organisations”.

Having released an updated edition of the report Unlocking the Profit Potential of the Caribbean, more and more trade buyers have sought out Caribbean producers in order to meet the increasing demand being experienced as consumers continue to explore new flavors from the Caribbean.

The ten companies included: Naledo (Belize), Superb Blend (Barbados), Old Duppy (Barbados), Flauriel (St Kitts and Nevis), Pringa’s (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Shavuot (Jamaica), St Lucia Distillers (St Lucia), Kalembu (The Dominican Republic), the Antillia Brewing Company (St Lucia), and CariBelle Foods (Trinidad and Tobago).

Two Caribbean products handpicked for live cooking demonstrations at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2022

  • Lime & Mango Dip produced by CariBelle Foods to feature in ethical eating cooking session.
  • Naledo’s Truly Turmeric paste selected for seminar and live demo focused on healthy foods.
  • Major UK tradeshow attracts over 10,000 members from the artisan food and drink sector.

Two Caribbean products have been handpicked by a top professional chef  to feature in cooking demonstrations at the upcoming Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2022.

The Lime & Mango Dip produced by Trinidad and Tobago’s CariBelle Foods will be used in a live cooking session entitled ‘Ethical Eating – guilt free and delicious’ taking place on 5th September. On 6th September, Truly Turmeric paste manufactured by Belizean-based Naledo, will be part of a cooking demo and seminar on ‘The healthy food movement – an unstoppable trend’.

Well-respected British chef and consultant Steve Walpole chose the Caribbean products for his highly-anticipated ‘Taste the Trends Kitchen’ breakout sessions. This segment of the two-day tradeshow is set to explore emerging trends in the food industry especially in relation to sustainability, ethical production methods, and healthy living choices.

Caribbean food and drink items are in growing demand from health conscious consumers in the UK and Europe who are looking for products that are as pure and natural as possible and still taste great.

Naledo’s Turmeric Paste is made from wildcrafted, whole root turmeric, cold-pressed coconut oil, fresh lime juice, and sea salt; while CariBelle’s best-selling Lime & Mango Dip combines fresh mango and lime with herbs, vegetables, and spices.

Managing Director at CariBelle Foods, Hesma Tyson, says she feels “elated” that her product has been chosen for a live chef demo at the Fair. She believes the dip was picked because it is “an all-natural product made from fresh Trinidadian fruits”. She adds: “This dip is the perfect balance of sweet, spice and tang, and pairs well with all meats and vegan dishes.”

Ten Caribbean food and drink producers are attending The Speciality & Fine Food Fair at London’s Olympia from 5th-6th September 2022 with the support of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and the European Union. This important trade event is expected to attract international buyers and retailers from a range of sectors including hospitality, food service, import & export, and wholesale.

Talking about the benefits of exhibiting at the Fair, Ms Tyson says: “Our company wants to introduce heat and flavour to the UK market. We are interested in expanding into this market because we have the capacity to supply it. We expect interest from buyers who are looking for quality products to add to their inventory and we are prepared to ‘wow’ visitors who come to our booth with the sampling of our products.”

The 10 Caribbean companies participating at the Fair are Naledo (Belize), Superb Blend (Barbados), Old Duppy (Barbados), Flauriel (St Kitts and Nevis), Pringa’s (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Shavuot (Jamaica), St Lucia Distillers (St Lucia), Kalembu (The Dominican Republic), the Antillia Brewing Company (St Lucia), and CariBelle Foods (Trinidad and Tobago).

Caribbean Fashion Designers to Showcase at Autumn Fair Moda, UK

Caribbean fashion is always in season and right on time. Ten designers from across the region will be heading to showcase and promote their brands at one of the leading international marketplaces – Autumn Fair at Birmingham, UK from 4-7 September 2022, funded by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and the European Union (EU).

“The Caribbean fashion industry remains an important sector within the cultural industries. We created the Caribbean Fashion Showroom to support the increased visibility of Caribbean designers with the ultimate aim of increasing exports of Caribbean fashion” shared Allyson Francis, Services Specialist at Caribbean Export.

The regional fashion brands set to exhibit at the upcoming Autumn Fair under the Caribbean Fashion Showroom booth are Theodore Elyett (Bahamas), Catori’s (Barbados), Gisselle Mancebo (Dominican Republic), Sandilou (Haiti), Reve Jewellery (Jamaica), Designs by Nadia (Saint Lucia), FETE-ish (Saint Lucia), Kimmysticclo (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), LOUD by Afiya (Trinidad & Tobago) and Aya Styler (Trinidad & Tobago).

With the support of the EU and Caribbean Export, these creative businesses aim to attract and network with leading European buyers while exhibiting the warmth and uniqueness of the islands through various fabrics, colours and indigenous materials covering clothing, footwear, jewellery and accessories.

Teasea Bennett, Co-Founder, Reve Jewellery

“We are excited to participate in a trade show garnered towards the fashion industry, and really happy to be a part of this group and to meet the other participating brands and designers. I look forward to meeting potential retailers and to tap into the UK market; the Caribbean has a lot to offer! Going with an open mind, to learn and of course to network, it’s a great opportunity! Thank you to Caribbean Export for the inclusion and look forward to being a part of more events such as these in the future.” – Teasea Bennett, Co-Founder, Reve Jewellery.

Autumn Fair is the UK’s industry leading marketplace for wholesale home, gift and fashion. This four-day event aims to host and offer the best products and inspiration as well valuable connections, just in time for the Golden Quarter. Autumn Fair provides the perfect opportunity for buyers to top up their stock and make last minute orders for the festive season. With over 600+ UK and international exhibitors showcasing their collections each year, there’s a huge variety of products at Autumn Fair from across their four key buying destinations – Home, Gift, Moda and Design & Source.

Caribbean businesses set sights on European market with participation at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2022

Ten Caribbean food producers will boost their chances of expanding into the lucrative European market when they take part in the upcoming Speciality & Fine Food Fair (SFFF) at Olympia in London from 5-6 September 2022.

The regional companies set to exhibit at the SFFF under the ‘Absolutely Caribbean Pavilion’ are Naledo (Belize), CariBelle Foods (Trinidad and Tobago), Old Duppy (Barbados), Flauriel (St Kitts and Nevis), Chocolala (The Dominican Republic), Pringa’s (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Shavuot (Jamaica), St Lucia Distillers (St Lucia), Kalembu (The Dominican Republic) and the Antillia Brewing Company (St Lucia).

Supported by the European Union and the Caribbean Export Development Agency, these businesses will aim to attract leading European buyers and distributors when they exhibit a range of traditional products made from indigenous ingredients including hot pepper sauce, turmeric paste, jellies and jams, cocoa, tea, beer and rum.

The SFFF is described as “the go-to showcase for emerging and established brands within the artisan, fine food and drink industry”. It is renowned for uncovering ground-breaking and inspiring products as well as predicting emerging trends and this year over 10,000 visitors from around the world are expected to attend the annual event.

“We are extremely excited to exhibit our tropically inspired Caribbean ales at SFF22. It is a great way to reboot our exports to the UK after two long years of pandemic disruption. We look forward to meeting new distributors, importers and retailers and sharing a taste of St Lucia with them” shared Andrew Hashey, Founder, Antillia Brewing Co.

SFFF exhibitors are given direct access to hundreds of decision makers who represent established retailers and brands around Europe, allowing them to network and learn, while sharing their unique products and individual business stories.

In order to give the 10 Caribbean participants the best chance of success at the SFFF, Caribbean Export has also been assisting some of them with preparing to export via a ‘Launch to Market’ programme which ran from September 2021 to June 2022.

This readiness programme focused on issues such as market compliance, regulations and labelling, as well as marketing and branding with the aim of capitalising on increasing consumer demand in Europe and the UK for Caribbean food which is worth upwards of £100m, according to research commissioned by Caribbean Export. Now these Caribbean companies will take all that they have learned from the ‘Launch to Market’ programme, and combine it with the unparalleled exposure provided by the SFFF platform, to demonstrate why their products should be on menus and shelves throughout Europe.

Caribbean Export and CCREEE Cooperate to Support Sustainable Energy Development and Create Jobs

  • Caribbean Export and the CCREEE sign an MOU
  • Caribbean Export and CCREEE to cooperate on key areas to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy capacity building for the private sector
  • Decarbonisation can lead to the creation of 400,000 jobs in the Caribbean

The Caribbean Export Development Agency and the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) have agreed on a framework to cooperate on growing businesses through sustainable energy.  The two organisations have signed a Cooperation Agreement to officiate their relationship given their symbiotic mandates.

“Caribbean Export is excited to be working with CCREEE to tackle the immense challenges which our region must confront – firstly, global climate change; second, building sustainable and affordable energy systems and third, poverty reduction through private sector development., shared Deodat Maharaj, Executive Director of Caribbean Export.

Mr. Maharaj highlighted that according to the International Labour Organization and the Inter-American Development Bank, it is estimated that decarbonisation will lead to the net increase of jobs in the Caribbean by 3.1%, that is, the creation of approximately 400,000 jobs. 

Echoing Mr. Maharaj’s sentiments, Dr. Gary Jackson – Executive Director of the CCREEE – remarked, “Energy is one of the most pressing development challenges of our time; a challenge that is best addressed, especially within the Caribbean context, through cooperation. We are resilient collectively, not separately”, he said. Dr Jackson further noted: “it is our human capacity which defines our resilience. “As we cement our partnership today, our hope is that the CCREEE and Caribbean Export can adequately set an example of what can be accomplished with the coalition of the willing.”

The agreement outlines areas of cooperation including technical assistance projects to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy capacity building for the private sector.  These initiatives will assist businesses to enhance their climate resilience, increase energy access, develop sustainable buildings and promises to ensure knowledge management and transfer, promote sustainable industry and business growth.  Together the organisations are supporting businesses capacity to provide a suite of renewable energy and energy efficient products and services.

In addition, Caribbean Export and the CCREEE highlighted that today’s signing is merely a formalisation of the already functional partnership. The two organisations have partnered previously on the development of capacity building initiatives and eagerly anticipate enhancing and increasing these and, supporting small and medium-sized businesses, with three projects having already been identified.

Calling All Artistes: The Caribbean Rhythm Showcase is back – live and direct!

  • The Caribbean Rhythm Showcase is looking for talented artistes
  • Caribbean Export and Headline Entertainment partner to produce the 2022 live staging of the Caribbean Rhythm Showcase in Kingston, Jamaica
  • Caribbean Export is supporting artistes gain greater exposure with international music executives.

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in cooperation with the European Union and Headline Entertainment (Jamaica) is supporting Caribbean artistes gain greater exposure to international music executives with the 2nd staging of the Caribbean Rhythm Showcase.  The event producers are looking for 25 acts to perform live to an audience including music scouts in September 2022.

“We are looking for artistes from all genres to perform at this Showcase.  From zouk, soca, calypso, reggae rap, dancehall and pop, we want to support our artistes.” Shared Allyson Francis, Services Specialist at Caribbean Export.

“Music is a critical industry for us in the region, and we are committed to supporting the development of our practitioners with our Business of Music courses to leverage digital platforms and to give them the exposure needed to be discovered” she continued.

The Caribbean Rhythm Showcase aims to unearth and display more of the region’s talent.  The organisers are inviting new and emerging artistes to register and submit a performance video for assessment, for a chance to participate in a dynamic event that will also include follow-up meetings with interested music executives.

Unlike previous editions which were held online, this years’ staging will be in person in Kingston, Jamaica and aims to give artistes the opportunity to showcase, gain exposure and create opportunity to collaborate with other regional musicians and generate international interest. 

“This year is different; it allows us to bring the talent together in one space (so) it’s not just us seeing a video but interacting with live talent, seeing the way they operate and understanding things about them,” says Jerome Hamilton, Managing Director of Headline Entertainment.

He added that, “The same applies to the buyers, which includes producers, distributors, publishers, company executives and artiste representatives assembled from around the world, (so) no longer will it be about if – or will – the respective persons log on. The buyers will be present and will be here actively looking to interact and find talent and with everything up-close-and-personal continuously over a couple of days, we expect to reach solid results.”

Artistes are encouraged to visit the website for details and are required to submit two original songs.

The live showcase will take place on September 17, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica and the selected artistes will participate in a number of activities designed to provide them with career development including workshops, and tours in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture, Entertainment, Gender and Sport.

ACP-EU Supports Digital Connectivity in the Caribbean in the Face of COVID-19

In consultation with the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), the European Union (EU) is funding the DIRECCT (DIgital REsponse Connecting CiTizens) programme to strengthen the resilience of the health, education and small business sectors in the Caribbean to cope with current and future crises.

A press conference was held virtually on May 18, 2022, bringing together the funding and implementing partners to launch the programme in the Caribbean region. Coordinated by the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency or AFD) Atlantic Regional Directorate, the bi-lingual event acknowledged the challenges to global and regional human development presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the critical role of digital services to allow people to stay connected with their public health partners, educational institutions and essential businesses.

H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) opened the floor by stating that “through this timely collaboration, we will finance 10 projects which will benefit more than 50 states throughout the OACPS in the areas of health, education and small businesses. By prioritizing the needs of NGOs and reducing gender inequality which are still very present in the digital world, we can transform this COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity to develop our countries.”

It is clear that the availability of digital services mitigated the impact of the pandemic for citizens, patients, students and businesses in the region. In future crises, the ability to stay connected with institutions and partners will be an essential and an effective response that has been severely tested in the last 2 years.

“The EU has set a new ambition: to support and increase access to digital services and tools in developing countries”, affirmed Mr. Luís Maia, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM / CARIFORUM. “Digital transformation and innovation are key priority areas in the EU’s engagement with the Caribbean, and the EU plans to step up its digital engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean through a Digital Alliance. The aim is to combine both regions’ interests, strengths and capacities, to jointly address the digital divide and achieve inclusive digital transformation.”

The responsibility to implement this 15.4-million-euro program, which is funded by the European Union, is that of Agence Francaise de Developpement and Enabel, the Belgian development agency. “The ACP-DIRECCT program is fully in line with AFD’s digital strategy” reminded Mr Philippe La Cognata, Regional Director in the Atlantic Ocean of the French Development Agency, “the digital transition is one of the six priority transitions of AFD’s Strategic Orientation Plan. We will use digital technology as a lever to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. AFD is thus positioning itself as a digital donor in order to become a reference partner for developing countries to accelerate their digital transition for sustainable development.”

“The Caribbean region will benefit from this programme through strengthened health information systems and increased capacity for early detection, response, monitoring, and reporting of public health threats and emerging diseases,” stated Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) as she presented a synopsis of the project Improving Digital Integrated Public Health Surveillance in the Caribbean. The initiative aims to increase capacity for real time access of Caribbean Ministries of Health to public health surveillance data from a variety of sources using a digital integrated information platform (One Health approach). CARPHA’s 26 Member States, many of which depend on tourism, will use this digital system to inform early and appropriate interventions to track and mitigate disease spread, and act as an evidence base for policy-makers to address local environmental and social determinants of health.

Ms. Seliatou Kayode-Anglade, Project Officer, Economy Private Sector and Trade division, Financial and Economic Governance Department of Expertise France presented the Digital transformation project for Micro Small and Medium Entreprises (MSMEs) in West Africa and the Caribbean. The objective of the project is to strengthen the resilience of off-line formal and informal MSMEs by improving their digital skills. Activities are implemented by partners in West Africa and in the Caribbean. “Caribbean Export is one of our partners in the Digital transformation project for MSMEs and we are glad to collaborate with them on such an important topic for Caribbean private sector development and economic resilience” reaffirmed Ms. Kayode-Anglade.

Mr. Deodat Maharaj, Executive Director, Caribbean Export Development Agency in his remarks welcomed the cooperation with Expertise France and praised the conception and design of the Virtual eCommerce Accelerator Programme (VEAP) that the Agency will be implementing. Maharaj affirmed the Agency’s commitment to working with relevant stakeholders to ultimately help Caribbean businesses and entrepreneurs take advantage of digital technologies to build their resilience and sustainability. “Under the rubric of the Virtual Ecommerce Accelerator Programme, we will engage Caribbean firms, Business Supports Organisations (BSOs) and ecommerce related private sector firms (such as website developers and drop shipment partners), over a 6-month period, utilising a learning by doing approach aimed at enhancing their knowledge of ecommerce and implementation of ecommerce strategies.” The accelerator will include a maximum of 2 BSOs in each country with 5 firms assigned to each BSO for support across the 15 CARIFORUM countries. These BSOs and firms will be supervised by a team of Master trainers and coaches in the areas of ecommerce website development, product development, marketing, analytics and general ecommerce operations.

Mr. Frédéric Murat, International Operations Manager of Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (Libraries without borders or BSF) presented the Offline Internet initiative launched by BSF in Haïti. While half of the world’s population does not have access to a quality internet, the need for the dissemination of digital content for training, education, information or leisure has never been greater in order to create stronger and more resilient societies in the face of contemporary challenges (education, employment, global warming, migration, risk and epidemic prevention…). In this project, BSF aims at promoting access to information and education in 15 Haïtian schools, libraries and local organisations for the most vulnerable through offline internet solutions.

DIRECCT projects aim to improve access to digital infrastructure in more than 55 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries by increasing connectivity, support the development of sector-specific digital services (education, health and business) according to their particular needs and then train people to use them. In the health sector, the main objective is to enable public bodies to quickly collect reliable data on the status of the current pandemic and possible future health crises, which are essential tools for institutions to provide immediate and relevant responses. The €15.4 million programme is mainly implemented by the AFD in coordination with the Belgian development agency, Enabel.

Press contacts:

DIRECCT Program – Eric MOUNIER – mouniere.ext@afd.fr

Press contact for the Caribbean region – Camille GUIGONNET – guigonnetc@afd.fr