Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Sandra Husbands, has emphasised the importance of Caribbean countries strengthening their productive capacities.
Ms. Husbands stressed this point on Thursday evening as she addressed the launch of the Caribbean Export Development Agency’s (CEDA) Annual Results Report 2021, at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
The Minister told her audience that the pandemic had shown that there was an integral need to build productive capacities. “We have witnessed how productive capacities have played an essential role in developing innovative solutions to the pandemic. As a matter of fact, it was proven that countries with more developed productive capacities have been better equipped to withstand COVID-19.
“Thus, it is paramount for us to place emphasis on developing our productive capacities in an effort to reduce our vulnerabilities. We must strengthen our productive resources, our entrepreneurial capabilities and our production linkages which, together, determine the capacity of our countries to produce goods and services and enable them to grow and develop,” she proffered.
Ms. Husbands noted that access to finance remains key to unlocking the potential of countries’ mandates, especially in the absence of National Indicative Programmes, which she described as critical to funding the gaps.
She added that in addition to strengthening the productive capacities, the region must be financially prepared to align its mandates with the ongoing fight in respect to climate change.
“Access to finance therefore remains critical. The post-pandemic economic response to the COVID-19 experience has also underpinned the importance of financing key areas. These include aligning science, technology and innovation policies with our industrial policies; strengthening our social protection and safety nets; continuing to invest in research and development; investing in green/eco-friendly business practices, and influencing consumer behaviour towards more sustainable healthier foods,” she explained.
The Minister of State expressed the view that the success of regional businesses was at the forefront of the economic stability of countries, and said it was encouraging that Caribbean Export was able to identify businesses; groom them for export, and then generate results.
Describing exports as “indispensable for the prosperity of this region and its citizens”, Ms. Husbands pointed out that Barbados had taken a renewed focus with regard to exports through the rebranding of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) to Export Barbados.
“We have seen for the first three months of this year a double-digit increase of 16.6 per cent compared to the same period of 2021. This is the highest level attained since the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the second-highest level for the comparative period since 2016,” she stated.
The Building Business, Transforming Lives For a Resilient Caribbean 2021 Annual Results Report presents the impact of Caribbean Export’s work relating to the implementation of the 11th European Development Fund Regional Private Sector Development Programme and the Strategic Plan 2021-2024.
With the support of partners, Caribbean Export has been able to undertake invaluable private sector development work in the region, assisting CARIFORUM small businesses to become more competitive and access new markets.
Source: Barbados Government Information Service