PRESS RELEASE – INVEST Saint Lucia (ISL), the island’s investment promotion agency, is expected to benefit significantly from the implementation of an online investment guide which is being facilitated by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA).
The external organisations are collaborating to develop investment guides in a number of CAIPA’s member territories.
The UNCTAD representative Ian Richards, has been working closely with the ISL team, meeting with relevant private sector stakeholders as well as a number of policy makers from various governmental departments as part of the research component of the project.
According to Richards, “The online investment guide to Saint Lucia is aimed at both local and foreign investors and will provide investors with everything they need to know in order to invest in the country.
“The investment guide covers a number of areas, not only how to set up a company but also what kind of licenses you need to get depending on what you do, how to pay taxes and what those tax rates are; what kind of skills are available in the country; typical wage expectations; legal framework; as well as the available opportunities.”
Alana Lansiquot-Brice, who is the Manager for Investment Promotion and Fulfillment at ISL, indicated that while Invest Saint Lucia provides similar information through its website in downloadable documents, this information may not all be in one place.
“The provision of information is crucial. For regions like the Caribbean, having accurate and timely information about a predictable process that is transparent from start to finish puts you ahead of the game. Investment promotion and attracting investment is very competitive and anything that you can do to get a leg up versus another country, is something you need to take advantage of,” she explained.
Suzette Hudson, Senior Advisor at the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), reiterated that point. “If we can present that information to them easily instead of going to search for it, then it puts us at an advantage. That is what we hope to do with this project, create ease of access to information, and hopefully increased investments.”
The iGUIDE’s content is being developed with Invest Saint Lucia, with the site designed to make the information easily updateable. It will allow ISL to position itself very centrally with regard to other government departments; to understand and map out the whole experience for investors and to present that information very clearly. It will also highlight areas for reform in the country’s investment environment and will help the government to understand investor needs.
Users who wish to obtain more detailed information can consult additional documents that will be uploaded, such as relevant laws and useful contact information. The site will also feature feedback collected among investors on the ground.
CAIPA’s partnership with UNCTAD will cover a total of 10 countries and territories in the region. To-date UNCTAD has produced 16 investment guides in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Saint Lucia follows Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on which work started last week. Antigua and Barbuda launched its guide in 2016.
UNCTAD has calculated that countries will need to mobilize an additional US$ 2.5 trillion annually of private investment in order to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals that were agreed at the UN in 2016. The guides are designed to help countries in this important effort. (Invest Saint Lucia)