Head of the EU delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, H.E. Amb. Mikael Barfod, says the European Union remains committed to working with Caribbean Governments and the regional private sector in building economic resilience.
“The EU believes a favourable environment for doing business and the expansion of trade through regional and global integration are crucial in attracting and retaining private domestic and foreign investment,” Barfod told delegates at the opening of the 2014 Caribbean Exporter’s Colloquium at the Hilton Hotel in Barbados on Tuesday, November 11, 2014. He noted that building economic resilience is a process that takes time and involves a “complex array of players and actions working in tandem”.
“There are already encouraging signs in some countries such as Jamaica and the Dominican Republic with regard to the benchmark ease of doing business.”
He however said some countries such as Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago have been slipping.
The EU official said despite challenges, the EU anticipates the continuation of the successful collaboration with regional governments. He referred to the first joint Caribbean EU- Partnership strategy that was completed in 2012 that now provides the framework for the 11th Regional Programme for 2014-2020. He said the discussions surrounding this programme will soon be completed and the focal sectors will include “Regional economic integration, crime and security and environment, climate change and energy”.
In congratulating the Caribbean Export Development Agency for having foresight to organizing the Colloquium, Barfod said the EU will continue to forge stronger linkages between its interventions aimed at “private sector-led economic growth… in a bid to promote stronger, greener, more resilient economies in the Caribbean region.”
Also addressing the audience was Executive Project Manager for GIZ’s EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) Implementation Support Project, Dr. Rainer Engels who noted that the Colloquium was an important element to the dialogue surrounding economic resilience.
He added that transportation across the region was key to the continued economic development of countries. “Logistics and shipping is also of overarching importance,” he said in making reference to the difficulty of making flight connections in the Caribbean. Engels said the problems could be solved by regional governments who own the airlines.
The Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium is funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and also supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).