The European Union has lent $4.4 million USD to the Caribbean Export Development Agency as part of a program designed to help Caribbean states promote their services sectors.
The vast majority of Caribbean states are a long way away from exploiting the full potential of the services sector, though it is a major source of employment and accounts for more than 50% of their GDP.
Moreover, according to the agency, Caribbean countries are armed with little data and information to draw up plans and implement strategies to bolster their service sector. Besides generating jobs, the program will also help the region integrate their service sector into the world economy, analysts say.
The agency will sit with the member countries to help them devise laws that foster an environment for investment in the services sector. The program is designed to cover a wide range of services, including tourism, healthcare, wellness, ICT and financial services. The Dominican Ministry of Industries and Commerce, and CARICOM Secretariat will coordinate with the Export Development Agency to roll out the program across the region.
“The creative industries have emerged as a key growth sector in the Caribbean economy through its contribution to GDP, exports, and employment, as well as its impact on destination and intellectual property branding,” stated Pamela Coke Hamilton, the executive director of the Caribbean Export, as saying.
She said the program would strengthen entrepreneurs and create an optimistic business environment for businesses in the service sector.
While there is much room for improvement, several countries have been reaping success in the services area. The financial services sector, for example, has become the second largest contributor to GDP in a few Caribbean states such as the Cayman Islands.