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Invest SVG embarks on capacity building through CDB project

Invest SVG embarks on capacity building through CDB project

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THIS COUNTRY’S Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) program and the capacity of persons responsible for driving export development are expected to receive a boost.

This, as Invest SVG, the agency responsible for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and strengthening export capacity, has embarked on institutional strengthening and capacity building of its employees through a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) funded project.

“In this regard the new strategic direction of Invest SVG will ensure enhanced capability to provide investment promotion and export development services in line with international good practice,” noted Daniel Best, Director of the Projects at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

Best, who spoke during the recent virtual launch of the project, said the technical assistance being given by the project will lead to the development of a new five-year strategic plan for Invest SVG and the development and delivery of training to staff in two key areas, export development and investment promotion.

He said the strategic plan will strengthen the quality of business support services and advocacy for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, taking into account their unique needs.

“This expanding mandate will leverage ISVG’s stellar reputation in spearheading the country’s investment promotion program over the years.

“The project will also increase ISVG’s capacity to tackle specific business climate reforms outlined in the regional investment strategy which are aimed at improving the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report,” Best told the audience during the launch which also heard from minister of finance Camillo Gonsalves, chairman of the board of directors of Invest SVG Anthony Regisford, and executive director of Invest SVG Annette Mark.

The CDB official said it is important to note that the project, being implemented to help Invest SVG, is in line with CDB’s strategic objective of building economic resilience and its corporate priority of promoting private sector operations, MSMEs development and competitiveness within priority sectors and sub sectors in BMCs.

“The project is in line with the overarching development goals of SVG as outlined in the national economic and social development plan 2013 to 2025 and also in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is focusing on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation,” Best further told the project launch group.

“I should note that there is complementarity between what we are doing here and CDB’s wider work with SVG in financing the modernization of the port in Kingstown as it would facilitate the improved efficiency of cargo port services, enhance environmental sustainability and climate resilience of Kingstown and the port and improve living conditions of project affected persons,” Best said.

Best explained that in the CDB’s strategic plan of 2020 to 2024, the MSME sector is a critical area of focus in the region’s ongoing effort to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth and eliminate abject poverty and inequality.

“Our intention therefore is to continue to craft programs of support that are available and accessible to all of our borrowing member countries.

“Areas of support under the bank’s MSME development program will focus on three things, capacity development, access to finance and improving the business climate,” Best revealed.

Best said also that in the current business environment, fluidity is becoming increasingly complex because of weak global growth and the current pandemic, so in this regard, CDB remains committed to supporting the development of MSMEs, improving the business climate across the Caribbean and giving high priority to financing and promoting initiatives that enhance competitiveness.

“We are also relying on institutions like Invest SVG to help us design programs that are better targeted for MSME development and which drive economic growth and employment creation in SVG and the wider Caribbean,” he said.

Best also revealed that the CDB in partnership with the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) is about to launch a COVID-19 MSME response grant program to support MSMEs impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“ Also the bank intends to partner with other regional agencies to support the regional investment promotion strategy and increase focus on technical assistance for BMCs (borrowing member countries) to spur continuous action in the area of business climate reform and by extension, a heightened perception of the region as a place to invest,” Best said.

In his presentation, finance minister Gonsalves said the CDB’s support comes at a difficult time, not only for the economy, but for the investment climate.

Executive Director Annette Mark noted that to be truly competitive as we continue to feel the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to have an effective development strategy with investment promotion and export development at its centre has become even more important.