Suriname President encourages region to diversify economic offerings
Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse has encouraged the region to further diversify its offerings on the economic market.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 37th Meeting of the Conference of the CARICOM Heads of Government yesterday, he pointed out that the region faces a number of economic challenges, especially now that other world economies were declining, and CARICOM Member States can no longer be dependent on extractor sectors such as oil, gold and other mining products which are attracting decreased prices.
He said that although there had been recent improvements in the prices of oil and gold, the old prices for these commodities would not return in the foreseeable future.
“Even if the prices were to increase substantially, we cannot keep running our economies on prices that are so unstable,” said the President of the South American nation that depends heavily on alumina, gold and oil.
Bouterse said that small and medium-sized economies like the ones in the CARICOM region had almost no effect on market prices of commodities. He therefore implored the region to diversify its economies by developing service industries to the point where they became solid earners characterized by sustainability. He said that states that were dependent on the extractive sectors needed to get together to discuss meaningful ways to shift from export of commodities.
“We have to join hands both nationally and regionally to consider effective ways to seriously improve service sectors and productivity,” he said.
The Surinamese leader also contended that countries dependent on the tourism sector also had a similar challenge since there had been notable declines in the number of tourists travelling to the region. He urged the CARICOM Secretariat to establish a connection with experts who could advise on innovative ways of creating new packages for international tourists.
Bouterse further contended that in order to address the challenges, the region needed to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and increase renewable energy and promote more sustainable sectors in its economies. He said the development of sustainable energy sources such as solar power and power generated by the use of waste should become prime targets.
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