Regional Symposium on Services
Posted in: Press Releases | 14 July 2009 | 2359
(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) More than a hundred representatives of the Services Sector in the Caribbean will gather in St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda to begin charting a more structured approach to the development of the Sector within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Chief Executive Officers of large, medium and small sized enterprises operating in the Sector, international experts, representatives of the academic community and senior public service officials are among those who will participate in the Regional Symposium on Services which will be held in St. John’s from 15-17 July 2009.
An organizing committee is working assiduously to ensure the smooth running of the Symposium which is being organized by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It will be held under the patronage of the Hon Baldwin Spencer, lead Head of Government with responsibility for Services in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet.
In recognition of the importance of the Sector to Regional economies, Heads of Government of CARICOM, at their just-concluded 30th Meeting held at the Guyana International Conference Centre in Georgetown, Guyana, agreed that Member States’ delegations to the Symposium will include the highest possible level of public sector representation and a Ministerial representative, especially of those Heads of Government whose portfolios in the Quasi Cabinet overlap with that of Services.
The Sector, which covers a range of activities, is the driver of economic growth in the CSME, accounting for more than 66 per cent of GDP and employment and no less than 70 per cent of export earnings. Activities in the Sector range from retail and distribution services, cultural and entertainment services, consultancy services and financial services. Broad sub-sectors include Communications; Business; Construction and Related Engineering Services; Education; Environmental; Financial; Health-related and Social Services; Tourism and Travel Related Services; Recreational, Cultural and Sporting Services; and Transport; Distribution.
The three main aims of the Symposium are to:
• Sensitise the key stakeholders in the sector on how to capitalize on the Region’s comparative advantage in the area of Services for the increased development of the Community
• Develop a plan of action for the period 2009-2013/14
• Identify elements of the Services component of the Regional Strategic Plan for Development within the Context of the CSME.
Heads of Government said they looked forward to receiving the Draft Strategic Plan for Services and the Plan of Action for the next five years which is to be considered by the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) and presented at the next Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference scheduled for Dominica in 2010.
Presentations at the Symposium will be done under the themes `The Single Economy Vision’; `Investment Trade and Development Linkages’; `Regional Challenges and Opportunities Confronting Trade and Development in Services’, `Making Services Work for Development’ and `The Vision of the Leader’.
Presenters at the three-day event will be drawn from among the World Trade Organisation (WTO), UNCTAD, and the CARICOM Secretariat.
The Symposium is being held even as Heads of Government acknowledged the debilitating effects of the global economic and financial crisis on the Services Sector.
His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government referred to the challenges in the Tourism and Financial Sectors, in particular:
“Several of our countries have been faced with devastating consequences because of this global financial crisis. Many of the sectors that we have encouraged in the past, particularly our Services Sector, have been decimated by the global events. Tourism, which provides a significant part of our income; financial services because of what’s happening with the CLICO and Stanford situations have taken tremendous hits,” President Jagdeo noted.
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