Upcoming Caribbean forum could attract over US$100B in investments

…massive interest from Europe in more trade ties with c’bean – EU rep

With Guyana set to host the 2024 Caribbean Investment Forum, a media launch was held on Wednesday that saw the Caribbean Export Development Agency revealing that the forum could attract well over US$100 Billion in investments.
The 2024 Caribbean Investment Forum will be held from July 10 to July 12 at the Arthur Chung Conference Center. On Wednesday, a media launch for the forum was held, where Caribbean Export Development Agency, Executive Director Deodat Maharaj spoke about the potential for investment.

From left; GO- Invest CEO Dr. Peter Ramsaroop, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond, CEDA Executive Director Deodat Maharaj, EU Head of Cooperation, Joan Nadal Sastre and CEDA official JoEllen Laryea

He pointed out that at last year’s forum, investors with portfolios of close to US$160 Billion were looking for opportunities. Asked why the Caribbean is viewed as a prime investment destination, Maharaj said, “firstly, we are an oasis of stability in the world of crisis, complexity and multi-faceted challenges. Secondly, our location is exceptional. We’re well educated. And if there are any skeptics, at the Caribbean Investment Forum in the Bahamas last October, 23 to 25, we had investors managing an investment portfolio of close to US$160 Billion willing to invest in the Caribbean.”
Meanwhile, the European Union delegation’s Head of Cooperation, Joan Nadal Sastre, spoke of the EU’s eagerness to increase trade and investment ties with the region. Sastre also noted that there are technical and financial support companies in the region can access.
“One thing is clear. The European Union wants to do more business with the Caribbean. We want more EU companies to see the Caribbean as an investment opportunity. We want to be a key business partner for you and we have a lot to put on the table. The EU investment offer combines hard infrastructure investment with flanking measures and a regulatory framework.”
“In addition, the EU puts at the disposal of partner countries the expertise brought about having a successful European single market, which ensures free movement of goods, services, capital and persons for almost 500 million citizens,” Sastre said.
From January 2017 to September 2023, total trade with the European Union stood at approximately US$11 billion. It has increased steadily in the past five years, with an average annual growth of 20 per cent.
Also on hand during the launch was Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister, Oneidge Walrond, who expressed hope that the upcoming forum would attract major investments and be a catalyst for more partnerships.
“At this juncture, I think it is sufficient to reiterate that the government of Guyana is committed to advancing economic growth throughout the region and that the Caribbean Investment forum serves as a pivotal platform for realizing this vision,” Walrond said.
“We therefore urge investors, partners and stakeholders, to seize this opportunity to collaborate and innovate for sustainable development in the Caribbean. Together, we must harness the collective power of our efforts to foster resilient economies and secure a prosperous future for the people of the Caribbean, today and for generations to come.”
The Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF) is one of the largest gatherings of business leaders in the Caribbean and focuses on promoting investments in the Region. Last year, the forum attracted over 500 business delegates representing 40 countries and was held at the Atlantis Resort by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) with the support of the Government of the Bahamas, Caricom, the Caribbean Development Bank, and the European Union’s Global Gateway Initiative.
During that event, Walrond spoke about ongoing efforts in Guyana to diversify the economy beyond oil. She outlined how oil resources are used to grow and support other sectors including agriculture and ICT and said the IMF, in a recent country report, praised Guyana for its efforts and “lauded it as a model for development”.
The forum had focused on four key areas: agricultural technology, renewable energy, ICT digital business, FINTECH, and logistics and transport, which were identified as having the potential to transform the Caribbean Region.
The two-day forum included investment villages, workshops, and roundtables focusing on the various key areas. During the ministerial roundtable, Minister Walrond discussed investments in fibre-optic infrastructure to boost growth in the ICT sector and digital Government services. (G3)