Obstacles to regional competitiveness must be addressed – CCfC
“To achieve competitiveness, the Region must address its constraints head on.”
This opinion was expressed on Friday, last, by the CARICOM Secretariat’s Private Sector Facilitation Specialist, Ms. Leela Ramoutar, during the opening of a regional consultation coordinated by the Caribbean Centre for Competitiveness (CCfC).
The Consultation was hosted at the Georgetown headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat to share information on the Centre’s mandate.
The mandate advises; (1) conduct research and case study analysis in order to understand regional firm-based competitiveness and the competitiveness of ecosystems; (2) build technical capacity in competitiveness; business climate reform; clustering and Small Medium Enterprise (SME) development; (3) deliver training programs for the public and private sectors; and (4) provide an independent platform for public private dialogue and collaboration.
Ms. Ramoutar told stakeholders that the Region’s constraints have been with us for decades. “…and I say with deep conviction, no matter what we do, unless we address the financing constraint, the deep rooted constraint of moving goods and people, and reducing the cost of production, other initiatives to achieve competitiveness may not yield the desired benefits.”
Against that backdrop, the Private Sector Specialist said that the Region had “great expectations” of the CCfC; and that the Secretariat acknowledged the contribution of this initiative toward building stronger regional integration and creating synergies necessary for ensuring the sustainable competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises.
The collaboration between the CARICOM Secretariat and the CCfC, she pointed out, would strengthen linkages among regional universities, institutions, and agencies to develop and maintain a strong network of strategic partners to enhance regional competitiveness.
Friday’s consultation represented one of several that the CCfC will be hosting across the Caribbean with the purpose of developing a market-driven work programme for the Centre.
Executive Director of the CCfC, Indera Sagewan-Alli during her remarks, provided details of the work that the Centre had already started in research and analysis, and in developing a train the trainers programme designed to provide a platform for public private sector dialogue on competitiveness.
She said that the Centre was also involved in developing a market-driven business plan that would produce “cutting edge” services. The CCfC Executive Director noted that it was important to harness its expertise in competitiveness and innovation, as the Region sought to enhance its comparative advantage.
The CCfC is a relatively new organization, established in September 2010 and operationalised in 2011 through a Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the University of the West Indies.
Another part of the focus of the consultation in Georgetown was to determine whether the oversight and the scope of the Centre were adequate to the needs which exist within the area of competitiveness in the Region.