Prime Minister Mia Mottley has made a case for Barbados and CARICOM to tap into the vast African market for business opportunities
At a panel discussion on Regional Transformation for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) last night, she urged the regional bloc to remove its own barriers to intra-CARICOM trade while looking to the African continent’s potential.
She said: “Beyond CARICOM, there are new markets that make sense for us to engage; and I speak specifically of the African market which is getting its act together at a very rapid rate.”
Stating that the Caribbean was linked to Africa by a common ocean and direct flights, she argued that the region has not even begun to capitalise on a major trading opportunity.
The Prime Minister also expressed hope with some reservations of Barbados’ future economic fortunes.
Mottley said: “So we are cautiously optimistic about the future of our country.
“We recognise now that we have to have a singular focus on growth that we can get to our GDP target of 60 per cent by 2032 or way before; by growing our economy or by slavishly trying to play cautiously within the crease.”
Continuing her cricket analogy, Mottley added: “When you come from a nation that has produced the greatest cricket the world has ever seen, then you have to learn to play outside of the crease and play some shots.
“And we are about to play some shots in the country; and those shots, hopefully, would lead to the kind of growth that we need.”
In stabilising the economy, reducing crime and improving the ease of doing business, Mottley said, Barbados would become a more hospitable place.
But the Prime Minister sought to not appear naïve to the impact that external forces could have on the country despite its best efforts.
“But we learn, that even with all of that, that the geopolitical instability of the world is creating its own difficulties,” she said.
Mottley pointed to the current social and political unrest in Venezuela, which she noted is next door to Trinidad and Tobago, as having the potential to affect the region.