ST JOHN’S, Antigua — The newly appointed chairman of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), Ambassador Colin Murdoch, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economy, recently met in Antigua and Barbuda with the senior management of the Agency, Escipion Oliveira, deputy executive director, and Anthony Bradshaw, chief operating officer, to discuss the agency’s current work programme.
Caribbean Export is currently implementing the five-year 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Private Sector Development Programme, which has a total project cost of EUR 32.1 million, of which EUR 28.3 million is financed by the European Union and EUR 3.8 million by Caribbean Export through counterpart resources.
“For Caribbean Export this ushers in a new era of export capacity-building and enhancements, and is geared towards achieving our objective of building winning brands across the region,” commented Oliveira.
“More importantly, the support and guidance received from members states such as Antigua and Barbuda, the CARICOM Secretariat and the European Union has enabled the Agency to better support the regional private sector in its quest for international competitiveness with a view to taking advantage, among others, of the business opportunities deriving from the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA),” Oliveira concluded.
“The Board is excited to see the roll out of initiatives under Year 2 of the current Work Programme, we believe that the programme is a proactive one that provides much needed assistance to regional firms and enterprises with the support of the relevant regional and international agencies,” commented Murdoch.
“This meeting also sought to guarantee a stronger participation of companies from Antigua and Barbuda in all activities promoted by the Agency including the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) through which Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) can receive, via a competitive selection procedure, up to 30,000 Euros to implement, among others, trade and export promotion activities,” Murdoch concluded.
Under the current programme, a number of initiatives are planned in Antigua and Barbuda including the hosting of regional meetings on financial services and marketing strategy for the spa and wellness sector.
Headquartered in Barbados with a Sub-Regional Office in the Dominican Republic, Caribbean Export is the only regional trade and investment promotion agency in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. Caribbean Export was established in 1996 as the trade promotion agency for 15 member states with the mission to “increase the competitiveness of Caribbean countries by providing quality trade and investment development and promotion services through effective programme execution and strategic partnerships”. Subsequently, an investment promotion mandate was added.