Business, Editorial

That Investment Forum in Trinidad and Tobago

A special event will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Trinidad and Tobago from Monday to Friday of next week (November 8 – 11).  This, special event, is dubbed ‘A New Period of Transformation for the Region’ and is all about the Caribbean Investment Forum focusing on building a smarter, greener Caribbean.

It’s an event that seeks to attract over 450 stakeholders. In other words, the Forum is seeking to explore business opportunities across the Caribbean by connecting key regional decision-makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs with the World’s most influential investors.

We give two thumbs up to this initiative. Not only is this needed in the region as such an initiative can go a long way in rejuvenating, resuscitating a Caribbean economy that is so much in need of a big jolt of fresh air as it continues to grapple with COVID-19 and the issues surrounding the wars and rumours of wars ravaging the world today.

The Caribbean brand has been built on its vacation appeals which alone is not enough to create a comfortable living for its approximately 44 million (World Atlas, Worldometers) and growing inhabitants.

Yes, the region has long held an identity as a tourism destination, but that in no way means it cannot diversify and be known worldwide for something other than its white sand beaches, cruise ships, Pina Coladas, reggae and dance hall music, calypso and soca music, steel pan music, beautiful wedding backdrops, etc.

Sustainability is the key word here and any other thing that could hold and sustain the Caribbean economy, breathe greater life into it and make it more than the playground of the wealthy must be something all political leaders within the Caribbean should go for.

The sustainable development of island economies should be at the forefront of all Caribbean governments hence the need for them to ensure that this upcoming investment forum rocks, not only by having the event but by ensuring that the end goals of the event are met.

Investment opportunities are all over the Caribbean and what better way to identify these opportunities than by Caribbean people themselves. Developing Caribbean brand assets beyond the travel brand augurs well for the Caribbean in light of an attack on the travel industry as COVID-19 showed in 2020 and up till now.

The Caribbean is ripe for that kind of investment forum as it has yet to fully tap into its renewable energy potential, its agricultural potential or even pharmaceutical potential with its wide array of medical herbs.

The trick, as we see it, is to transform the high-level discussion that this investment forum will generate into a vehicle which will grow or be the engine of growth and development for the economies of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean economy, just like the global economy, is starting to emerge from what could be described as a profound economic and financial crisis. The Caribbean now faces a very different global investment landscape, therefore, the upcoming investment forum in Trinidad should provide some crucial answers on how investors in developing countries can face this new landscape.

We hope that the forum can bring about the development the Caribbean is so desperately in need of and that both public and private actors ensure that economic development meets the challenge set by the UN Millennium Development Goals, namely bringing the bottom millions out of extreme poverty.

After all, we will be spinning top in mud if participants at the forum resolved to ensure greater sustainable investments in the wealthy. True sustainable investment should be in the poor, for the poor and with the poor.

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