One of the world’s most prestigious, most trusting and leading government advisory agencies, CS Global Partners is the official representative of the Governments of The Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis. The agency works closely with the governments of these Caribbean nations and guides them regarding the maintenance and upliftment of their CBI Programmes.
All three of these Caribbean Countries recently attended the inaugural Afri-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2022), hosted in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 1 to 3 September 2022.
The Forum unveiled a new chapter in the relations between the Caribbean and Africa. The Forum was hosted under the theme, ‘One People, One Destiny, Uniting and Reimagining Our Future’.
Various initiatives discussed in the Trade and Investment Forum were intended to deepen further and build new trade and investment relationships between Africa and the Caribbean. These initiatives were meticulously discussed and green-flagged during the event.
African Export-Import Bank, the Government of Barbados, convened the three-day Forum in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the Caribbean Community Secretariat, African Union Commission (AUC), Caribbean Export Development Agency, and the Africa Business Council.
Mia Amor Mottley, The Prime Minister of Barbados, expressed her pleasure in the fact that the country was selected to host the first-ever ACTIF 2022.
She declared that Africa and the Caribbean share common roots and must work and act together in various sectors. Participants of the three-day Trade and Investment Forum committed to building a commercial bridge between the two regions so that both areas may be able to prosper and thrive in the future. The high-level support between the two locations is intended to boost bilateral cooperation and engagement in trade, investment, technology transfer, innovation, tourism, culture and other sectors.
The Forum also served as a platform where the leaders from both regions established effective business matchmaking between the two regions.
The three-day conference featured various panel discussions on several topics, which were based on business-to-business engagements. The delegates discussed topics such as: developing special economic zones (SEZs) and industrial parks; boosting industrialisation and manufacturing; improving infrastructure, financing and trade logistics, including regional integration, promoting trade and tourism, creating the environment to accelerate private sector investment, improving agricultural productivity and increasing agribusiness opportunities and food security.
Along with this, the forum also witnessed the signing ceremony of two partnership agreements, 10 MoUs and three finance facilities. The star document of the forum, which signified the success of the summit, was the partnership agreement between seven members of the Caribbean Community and Afreximbank to promote and finance South-South trade and investment between Africa and the Caribbean. Its ultimate goal is to promote and provide insurance and guarantee services covering commercial and non-commercial risks associated with African and Caribbean exports.
Caribbean countries such as Barbados, the Republic of Suriname, the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines signed the agreement with African Export-Import Bank.
The agreement will help to boost knowledge sharing between Africa and the Caribbean region with technical cooperation, research and several joint events. It also has the potential to accelerate the membership of CARICOM nations in Afreximbank as it will enable the bank to operate in the region and deliver on the new vision.
Over and above this, in order to mobilise trade and investment between the two regions, Afreximbank also signed a US$250 million Trade and Investment Agreement with the Central Bank of Barbados.
Further, Afreximbank outlined their aim to establish the export-import as they signed a MoU with the Caribbean Association of Banks. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of hundreds of delegates comprising African and Caribbean business leaders and government officials discussing how to improve trade and investment between the two regions. It was signed by the Chief Executive Officer, CAB, Wendy Delmar, and the Executive Vice President of Afreximbank, Denys Denya.
To sustain these efforts, Africa-Caribbean Business Council, CARICOM Private Sector Organisation and Afreximbank also signed another MoU. The rest of the memos included Ghana Export Promotion Authority and Barbados Investment and Development Corporation signed by BIDC’s Hill and GEPA’s Dr Afua Asare, and BIDC, GUTA’s Dr Joseph Obeng and BCCI’s Anthony Branker, Ghana Union of Trade Association and Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed by Hill.
Various senior government representatives, business leaders, representatives of business associations, prospective investors and buyers, project promoters, development agencies, multilateral finance institutions, think tanks and research institutions from Africa and the Caribbean were in attendance at ACTIF 2022 with more than 1,500 delegates representing 93 countries (comprising 48 African countries, 12 Caribbean countries, and 33 other countries).
The specific objectives of ACTIF2022 were:
• Promotion of inter-bank relationships, which includes financial flow and fostering payment.
• Development of cultural and creative engagements between two regions that can be commercially viable.
• Creation of a business case for a potential AfriCaribbean Free Trade Area.
• Creating a suitable platform which helps to disseminate trade and investment information and other products and initiatives of the bank, which will support trade between Africa and Africans in the diaspora.
• Help in the reduction of the counterpart risk perception among African and Caribbean businesses in dealing among themselves.
• Promotion of trade and investment between Africa and the Caribbean as the forum served as the platform for market identification, building business partnerships, exchange of trade and market information, and co-investments.
• The forum also facilitates Afri-Caribbean investments by fostering and bolstering cross-regional business and investment linkages.