Stakeholders from the public and private sector, civil society, regional organizations, and academia gathered in late January to support the CARICOM Secretariat to develop a strategy to mobilize AfT resources to increase exports, address supply-side constraints, and integrate more fully into the multilateral trading system.
Gregory Downes, regional coordinator for the AfT Strategy, and Sheldon McLean, regional trade policy advisor at the CARICOM Secretariat, facilitated the consultations, which sought guidance from stakeholders on their AfT priorities, the effectiveness of aid delivery to date, regional and national monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and implementation mechanisms for AfT programs and projects.
Stakeholders raised several issues, such as the need to reduce the cost for inter- and extra-regional transport, alternative sources of energy, storage capacity for perishables, and institutional support. Other issues included diversifying the economy to explore nontraditional sectors, upgrading national quality infrastructure, building knowledge economies, upgrading information technology infrastructure, and training to support new export opportunities and export financing facilities.
Arrangements for a second round of consultations are being finalized.
The development of the strategy is being led by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank and with support provided by the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom.