Global Business leaders, government representatives, investors and stakeholders from the GCC, Latin America and the Caribbean met in Dubai for the Global Business Forum, LATAM from March 23-24, 2022. The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) was represented by Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules who was a panellist on the second day of the Forum.
Dr. Jules featured on the panel themed ‘Building Stronger Trade Infrastructure’ alongside former president of Brazil’s National Association of Airport Management Companies, Dyogo Oliveria and secretary-general of Latin American Service Exporters, Javier Pena Capobiancol a release from the OECS secretariat states. The panel did a deep dive into many of the infrastructural constraints affecting trade in Latin America and the Caribbean, including issues of poor infrastructure, fragmented logistics, legal and regulatory deficiencies, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade in the region.
In speaking to the unique challenges of small island developing states, specifically those of the OECS region, Dr Jules stated: ‘’We are among the most tourism-dependent economies in the world. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shutdown of the tourism industry, and in one month, we had a total of 3,340 flights grounded. This had a tremendous impact on supply chains and food imports, but also created opportunities for a transformational approach. It is no longer about restarting the economy but finding ways to reinvent our economy in green, resilient ways.”
Dr Jules continued, ‘’The regionalization of trade and the supply chain is an important step in that direction. Trade has three channels: air, sea, and IT. The latter is now vital in almost every aspect of our lives. We have to approach it with design thinking; we cannot focus on just one element, it has to be a symbiotic approach.”
The OECS official also met with several business and government leaders during his time at the Global Business Forum, with the aim of developing relationships and seeking opportunities to boost trade and investment in the sub-region.