News Release

CDB and Caribbean Export Partner to Promote FDI

Published on

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is heavily invested in the region’s sustainable economic development.

One of the latest demonstrations of this is its support of the inaugural Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF).

Staged at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from November 8 to 11, 2022, it was organised by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) and several of its partners and benefited from a grant of USD246,600 from the Bank’s Special Fund Resources.

The funding helped to finance the costs associated with the procurement of consultancy services to provide technical support for the CIF.

The CIF focused on four main investment sectors: AgriTech, digital business including e-commerce, innovation, and technology; Green economy transition, and transport and logistics.

Critically, participants were connected to investors with interests in bankable investment projects and prospects in the Caribbean.

Senior Advisor for Public Relations and Marketing at Caribbean Export JoEllen Laryea, deemed the forum a success.

CIF was a high-level investment forum that attracted over 500 delegates including high-level industry experts, government policymakers and investment facilitation agencies. Over three days, participants discussed the avenues available to support the Caribbean’s transition to a GREEN-er, SMART-er, success-driven economy and discovered unique business opportunities,” she shared.

Laryea explained the important role that the grant funding, facilitated by the CDB’s Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME)Unit, played in executing the CIF.

Key to the success of the forum was the attraction of qualified potential investors to the event. Caribbean Export collaborated with CDB to support the investors to attend and participate in over 250 business-to-business meetings held and the country pitches where the region’s investment promotion agencies presented both public and private sector investment opportunities,” she disclosed.

The second phase of the project includes following-up with investors and supporting the development of packaged investment products.

All of this is predicated on Caribbean Export, working with CDB and others, being able to attract more foreign direct investment to the region.

To this end, Laryea  noted the overall objective of the CIF, including the component funded by the CDB, was to “support the attraction of FDI into the region, particularly as investors are more risk averse and it’s critical that they are aware of the immense opportunities available across the Caribbean.

This effort did not end in November when the CIF concluded, the Caribbean Export representative noted.

The project started last year and will continue into 2023 as we seek to follow up with the investors that attended the forum and develop the packaged investment opportunities,” she outlined.

With Caribbean Export and others focused on exploring the most attractive investment opportunities in technology, agriculture, renewable energy, and innovation, Laryea called CDB “a valued partner for CIF, given the critical need to identify qualified investor leads to ensure the value of the event.

She asserted its success required important follow up activities to convert leads into actual investment.

The Caribbean Export official stated: “From the outset we wanted to ensure the event was not a talk shop but a platform for businesses to engage with each other. This is a long term process which we will continue to work with CDB on to attract FDI in to the region to support our economic transformation.

When the CIF was launched last October, Caribbean Export’s Executive Director, Deodat Maharaj, said the Forum was timely and essential because “business and investment have an absolutely critical role to play in driving transformation” in the Caribbean.

He added: “The last two years have demonstrated to us more than ever that building resilience must be the top priority of our region. The COVID-19 pandemic placed enormous stress on our economies and societies . . . . It is crystal clear that we need to have a forensic focus on sectors that can drive and advance this transformation.

As she highlighted the importance of the financial assistance provided by the CDB, Laryea echoed Maharaj’s sentiments on what was needed now in relation to the CIF’s objectives.

There is high perceived investment potential for the Caribbean, but we need to provide greater or better information on bankable projects available in the Caribbean if we are to truly attract foreign direct investment,” she concluded.