Facing a public sector debt of more than $10 billion and low investor confidence, Barbados will be afforded a fresh opportunity next month to bring in critical foreign exchange earnings from the continent.
The head of a global conglomerate of peace and human rights organizations, which seeks to bridge the gap between international development and investors, is expected to meet with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as well as representatives of the business community and other non-governmental entities, to discuss the opening up of major trading links with Africa –– Nigeria in particular.
Chairman of the International Gathering For Peace And Human Rights In Africa, Bishop Dr Alvin McKinny, will be in Barbados for ten days, from March 27, as a prelude to the annual international gathering in Nigeria from April 11 to 13.
That annual gathering also promotes peace and human rights on a world scale and honours individuals and organizations for their work in building peace and protecting human rights.
Barbados is expected to benefit significantly through the conglomerate’s creation of meaningful alliances through business gatherings and opportunities that will empower and equip others with the relevant tools to foster and develop a just and tolerable society.
”This international gathering for peace and human rights, really opens us up ton having this opportunity at this stage where our economy is in such shatters, in such a terrible state; in Nigeria, it is growing phenominally, so we need to take advantage of that; so we want to encourage the business sector to support this venture that we are having here,” media coordinator for the Caribbean and Latin America for the gathering, Rev. Dr Carol Phillips told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
“Many of the countries in Africa, have serious growth at the moment. Nigeria is one of the fast-growing economies in the world right now, and it has a huge population of over 176 million people. Very rich in every kind of natural resources; and the Caribbean can benefit by having MOUs to work with Nigeria,” Phillips said.
She hopes that with Barbados bidding to host next year’s gathering, that could open “new trading doors” with the African continent.
“We are praying, and we will know in the next few days if Barbados has definitely won it for next year. And just imagine, the international gathering being held in Barbados for 2015; the thousands of delegates who turn up. We just want it in Barbados, because we think it is going bring in a lot of financial resources, a lot of opportunities. A lot of relationships will be formed by us hosting an event like that,” stated the media coordinator.
She said Barbados could further benefit from opportunities at the Nigeria conference itself because stakeholders from this country, the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America, will be invited to take part in an international business forum.
”And when the bishop and his delegation come here, we are planning to have events here where he can meet businesses who have a mind that they can work with Africa. And let’s not fool ourselves, Africa is not, and Nigeria certainly is not villages with no paved roads that we sometimes see in the media. That is not Africa; it is a sophisticated place,” added Dr Phillips.
”We have a lot to offer and we have old relations going back to slavery. The doors are open, they are looking for relationships and I think it could only benefit us.
“A country like Barbados where we say we want to have a graduate in every home. We certainly probably will never have enough jobs in Barbados to accommodate that; but Africa has opened up itself to us,” she pointed out.