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Reforms needed

Business-friendly environment needed in Caribbean.

 

President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CBD) believes that there is a raft of reforms that the Caribbean needs to undertake to create a business-friendly environment in which both foreign, and local investment will spur export-led growth.

 

“Many of these reforms are captured in useful competitiveness indices like those computed for the World Bank’s Doing Business survey. Such reforms are now an integral part of the framework of all IMF-funded adjustment programmes,” Dr. Warren Smith indicated.

 

He shared with the Caribbean Diaspora in Toronto that CDB has chosen to focus its attention on the cost of energy, especially electricity costs; which he said represents a major impediment to competitiveness and growth in most Caribbean economies today.

 

“This new area of emphasis is a “natural fit” for CDB. The skills required for effective investment in the energy sector are close to the core competencies that CDB staff currently possesses; and, therefore, lend themselves to quick “scaling up” of CDB activities.”

 

“The Bank is convinced that the time is right for Caribbean countries to pursue realistic goals in the energy sector and to substantially reduce electricity cost by taking advantage of recent technological advances in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” he stressed.

 

“As I have said elsewhere, the Caribbean is not energy poor. Its vast resources of hydro, wind, and solar energy can be developed in a manner that substantially reduces the importation of fossil fuels, thereby reducing import expenditures. It is estimated that energy costs could be reduced by as much as 30 per cent to 50 per cent. Reductions in energy costs of this magnitude could lay the basis for the emergence of new and competitive economic activities across the Region.”

 

To make transformation a reality, Dr. Smith said that appropriately-priced resources will have to be made available to cushion the high up-front capital cost and the uncertainty associated with some of renewable energy technologies.

 

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency are also recognised as effective ways of reducing the world’s carbon footprint and the level of emissions released into the environment. Success in reducing these emissions is inextricably linked to the climate change juggernaut. With the growing consciousness that the pace of global warming must be reduced, many countries in the developed and developing world are making available grant and or near grant financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.” (TL).

 

Source: www.barbadosadvocate.com

 



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