WILLEMSTAD, Curacao — COSME, a European Union-funded programme committed to providing support to Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) entrepreneur sustainability and inspiring growth, hosted a two-day workshop for trade and policy dialogue on February 8 – 9, 2018, in Curacao.
Entrepreneurs around the world focus on economies of scale in order to stay competitive. The Caribbean OCTs have the possibility to leverage their collective power through regional collaboration in trade and investment. Workshop facilitator, Pauric Brophy (Irish Republic), led discussions on how OCTs can continue to reinforce their collaboration in the field of trade and investment post-COSME.
The workshop attracted participation from all Caribbean OCTs, except the Cayman Islands and St Barthélemy. The objectives of the workshop were to:
1. Explore the creation of a regional (OCT) trade and investment policy working group.
2. Increase the capacity of participants to analyse, comment on, formulate and implement trade and investment policy decisions.
3. Support the building of stronger partnerships with other stakeholders and institutions that support regional collaboration in trade and investment.
The level of interaction ensured meaningful and high-level consensus for actionable dialogue to chart a path forward. Marlon Penn, BVI junior minister for trade, attended and said, “The discourse was indeed fruitful. What needs to be done now is to take steps to foster greater collaboration in the area of trade and investments. OCTs need to proceed as a collective unit. It is now time to act.”
Caribbean OCT entrepreneurs continue to demonstrate their strength and, through enabling trade and investment policies, they can continue to grow and scale their operations further, increasing their contributions to the economy.
COSME is a 54-month programme with the responsibility to disperse €15 million to projects benefitting participating Caribbean territories. The funds were made available by the European Union. The programme’s overall objective is to contribute to the sustainable and climate-resilient economic diversification and prosperity of Caribbean OCTs by improving the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the participating territories.