Targeting existing investors to reinvest in the Caribbean and creating linkages in the domestic economy between investors and local suppliers to drive investment growth were issues at the centre of the strategy recommended to the region’s’ Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) at the recently held workshop facilitated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) in collaboration with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) on 27-28 July in St. Lucia.
During the workshop, 22 representatives from 11 IPAs across the Caribbean region were exposed to best practices in facilitating existing investors and in key account management. “It takes up to 3 years to secure an investment from a greenfield project”, noted the CAIPA President, McHale Andrew of Invest Saint Lucia, “but it can take as little as 1 year to secure additional investments from an existing investor. With the current challenges of reduced promotional budgets and a demand for increased foreign investment and jobs, it seems logical that we seek to engage further with those investors who have already partnered with us”, continues the CAIPA President.
The training forms a part of initiatives undertaken through the provision of funding assistance by the Inter-American Development Bank under a Regional Public Goods Programme entitled “Support for Foreign Direct Investment in the Caribbean.” The main objective of this project is to assist the Caribbean Investment Promotion Agencies in the positioning of the region as a location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and to present the Caribbean as a single investment destination. The project is jointly financed with Caribbean Export and CAIPA.
During the workshop, it was highlighted that already a significant portion of investments into the region come from reinvestments but these figures are not monitored nor incorporated as FDI. The training of the IPAs forms part of a broader initiative to develop a reinvestment programme for CAIPA and to track reinvestment figures within the Caribbean. Preliminary results from a survey of existing investors, which forms a part of this project, indicates an interest or plans by more than 50% of existing investors to expand within the host country or within the region. “Moreover,” notes the Executive Director of Caribbean Export, Mrs. Coke Hamilton, “the region’s best ambassadors and attractors of new investors are our existing investors. We treat them right, and we are already halfway to reaching our investment, jobs and export targets.”
This initiative will see the development of strategies within regional IPAs to address the needs of existing investors and to assist them in expansion plans across the region. Participating IPAs included: Invest Barbados, the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA), the Belize Trade & Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), Curacao Investment and Export Promotion Agency (CINEX), the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), the Centre for Facilitation of Investments in Haiti, Invest Saint Lucia (ISL), Jamaica Promotion Corporation (JAMPRO), InvestSVG (St. Vincent & the Grenadines), the Investment and Development Corporation of Suriname (IDCS), and iInvesTT (Trinidad & Tobago).