Strategic Regional Dialogue on Private Sector Development in the Caribbean and the Compete Caribbean Regional Consultative Forum

The first Compete Caribbean Regional Consultative Forum (RCF) and Strategic Regional Dialogue on Private Sector Development in the Caribbean was held on April 8th and 9th, 2013 at the Cave Hill School of Business, the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill campus), Barbados.

The first Compete Caribbean Regional Consultative Forum (RCF) and Strategic Regional Dialogue on Private Sector Development in the Caribbean was held on April 8th and 9th, 2013 at the Cave Hill School of Business, the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill campus), Barbados.
Over the one and a half days of dialogue, this forum created a space for the 6 regional organizations and/or programs to share their respective private sector development strategies, and engage in an exercise with representatives of the private sector of delineating priorities, key actions, and opportunities for collaboration in the areas of logistics and connectivity, skills and productivity, new sectors and promoting instruments, and resuming growth in traditional sectors. (Follow the links below to access the presentations)
Participants: leaders and high level representatives from the University of the West Indies (UWI), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Secretariat, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), the Caribbean Centre for Competitiveness (CCfC), the Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC), Canada’s International Development Agency (CIDA), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and the Compete Caribbean Program.
One of the key successes of the RCF was the feedback gained on the priorities, operations, and the private sector development strategy of the Compete Caribbean Program. Another was that regionally active organizations were provided with the opportunity to present their private sector strategies and workplans, receive feedback, and provide comments to the private sector strategies and workplans of the other regionally active organisations. Their presentations follow: (CARICOM Secretariat, OECS Secretariat, UWI, CEDA and CDB). As an activity that has never been attempted formally, this exercise provided an opportunity for regionally active organisations to gain a better understanding of all the work that is being done with regard to private sector development in the region and to identify areas for synergies and more importantly voids that require future action. Markedly, the Forum also provided a chance to engage in facilitated dialogue on the issues of logistics and connectivity, skills, productivity and innovation, and promising sectors and their promotional instruments.
As the first step to arriving to a shared consensus on a set of priorities, key actions and coordination needed to respond to the needs of the Caribbean private sector and to devise a cohesive plan to solve many of the bottle necks that face businesses in the region, the RCF could be considered as an instrumental step in answering the question of how to make Caribbean economies grow. It is clear however, that much more work needs to be done to identify and clarify the respective roles and activities of the region’s organisations and to better synchronise our respective efforts.
As such, the Compete Caribbean Program will take forward this agenda by funding a mapping that will clearly identify what each regional organisation is responsible for and is currently pursuing as it relates to the private sector as well as commission a study on private sector advocacy and the collective action that could guide the design of a regional body that adequately represents of the Caribbean private sector (see Closing Remarks).

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