Workshop on Improving the Business Climate by Strengthening Procedures to Start a Business in the Caribbean

Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), has set its sight on improving the business climate in the Caribbean with a focus on strengthening the procedures to start a business in the Region.

The Agencies convened a two-day workshop at the Radisson Aquatica Hotel in Barbados from 9-10th April 2019, to discuss the region’s business climate.

“Our focus will be 3-fold,” notes Suzette Hudson, Snr. Advisor of Investment promotion at Caribbean Export. “We want to assess the current procedures, cost and time to start a business in the Caribbean, guided by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, review global best practices with a focus on Jamaica and finally, develop action plans or next steps for that will be implemented in the near-term.”

Jamaica ranks among the top 10 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report for Starting a Business. “It is hoped that in the future we can continue to work with CAIPA to tackle other hurdles that are negatively affecting or may negatively affect the attraction of investment into the Caribbean.”

Participating countries included: Antigua and Barbuda; the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; St. Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and Trinidad and Tobago. From these countries 32 stakeholders, the investment promotion agencies, attorneys who assist foreign firms in incorporating their companies, registrars of companies and other private sector interested parties participated.

Commenting during the opening session, Ms. Evelyn Wayne, the Director of Economic Policy and Development, of the CARICOM Secretariat noted that “This initiative is directly aligned to the commitment to adopt a Community Investment Policy for CARICOM States, which, among other things, addresses the modernization of the role of public authorities, to improve investment facilitation procedures.”

“Creating an enabling environment to facilitate investment through regulatory reforms is critical for small States with limited ability to offer incentives for FDI attraction “noted, Ms. Opeyemi Abebe, Trade Advisor with the Commonwealth Secretariat. “At the Secretariat, we are committed to helping the developing and small member States of the Commonwealth address challenges faced in facilitating investment and building that capacity to implement some key interventions that Governments can execute to improve the business climate for attracting investment.” The Commonwealth Secretariat is the international donor, funding the execution of a study to develop action plans to strengthen the procedures to start a business in the Caribbean. The funding from the Secretariat also covered the hosting of the regional workshop.