The Caribbean Engaging the World in Financial Services

April 9, 2014

The Caribbean Export Development Agency(Caribbean Export), in partnership with the Government of The Bahamas, today commenced a three day high-profile summit: The 3rd Caribbean Conference on the International Financial Services Sector in the Caribbean Region under the theme “The Caribbean Engaging the World in Financial Services” at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel, Nassau, The Bahamas.

The financial services sector continues to be a vital sector for the development of Caribbean economies, to the extent that the financial services are the second largest contributors to gross domestic product (GDP) in the Caribbean region. The leading Caribbean Forum countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) involved in international financial services are The Bahamas and Barbados, along with Antigua and St. Lucia, who also register the largest contribution of financial services to GDP of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries.

In 2011 the financial services sector contributed over 20 per cent to GDP in Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and The Bahamas. The importance of the industry to the region is further illustrated considering that it represented 17% of GDP for the CARIFORUM region in 2011. It is in view of these trends that Caribbean Export is particularly interested in the development of the financial services sector and is committed to the development of the sector following the mandate assigned by CARIFORUM Givernments for the establishment of the Task Force for the Promotion and Protection of the Caribbean Financial Sector (TFP-CFS) for which the Executive Director of the Agency, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, is the Chair.

Given the importance of this sector, CARIFORUM countries are increasingly challenged to remain competitive through repositioning their industries within the context of constantly evolving international standards. The current conference under the theme “The Caribbean Engaging the World in Financial Services” seeks to address a number of the immediate issues such as global policy measures and initiatives that directly affect Caribbean international financial services centers (IFCs).

The Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, in address to delegates, reiterated the importance of the crucial role of the sector in regional development, “Given the significance of this sector to this region’s development, it is clear that we as a regional agency must work with your stakeholders to find solutions to the myriad challenges facing this sector. The challenges this vital services export faces, places us in a precarious position and affects our growth as a region. Many countries in the region have sustained their share of criticism as tax havens which has led to a distorted and negative perception of the work undertaken in the region.”