SVG must do more to woo foreign investors – agency
October 23, 2012
SVG must do more to woo foreign investors – agency

More needs to be done to encourage foreign investment to the region.

And Cleo Huggins, executive director of Invest SVG, says St Vincent and the Grenadines is probably among the last in the region to attract foreign investors.{{more}}

It was with this in mind that investment experts from across the region met here for a five-day workshop on training in investment packaging and aftercare services for the Caribbean Association of Promotion Agencies (CAIPA).

Speaking at the opening ceremony last week Tuesday, Huggins said the session was being held at an important time, when it was necessary for the nation to be competitive at home and in the region.

There is a lot of money to be invested around the world, but if we look at what is actually being invested here, it was a fraction of that figure, Huggins said.

“We are to make ourselves more competitive if we are to attract a larger majority of the share from around the world,” she said.

“For St Vincent and the Grenadines, for all of us, it is important,” she added.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Douglas Slater said the discussions were being held at a time when there were challenges globally.

He explained that St Vincent has had to move away from an agricultural based to a service and manufacturing economy.

“We have grown dependent on foreign direct investment, but its also very challenging where we are expecting these investors to come from,” Slater said.

Non-traditional partners are the way the region should be looking, the foreign minister contended.

He explained his government’s foreign policy, of maintaining relations with traditional partners such as North America and Europe, but more recently there has been a shift to some non-traditional partners.

These partners include Latin American nations, including the larger nations such as Brazil and Argentina.

“I want to suggest that we start looking to a little more to these countries,” Slater told the participants.

He also spoke of the high cost of energy in the region, saying that this contributes to the region not being a competitor in the world’s economy.

This can be overcome if those facilitating direct investment look for investors in energy.

Geo-thermal energy in the region is also a solution to the energy issue, he said.

Slater, however, said he believed that the region’s issues could be sorted out with the human resources that are available in the industry.

“The people are the technocrats … the government puts policy, so we have to work together,” the foreign minister said. (DD)