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CAIC to attend United Nations General Assembly Business Summit Events

At the September 2015 regular session of the UN General Assembly of Nations; all 173 members adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; a plan of action for people, planet, peace and prosperity; with an essential role spelled out for business.

Two years after its adoption and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the business community is being called upon to deliver greater action and impact.

Several events with a business focus or that engage private sector participation are being organised during and around the 73rd regular session of the UN General Assembly in New York, NY, USA during the period September 18th, 2018 to September 30th, 2018.

The CAIC, through its Head of Secretariat; Mr Dav-Ernan Kowlessar will attend the following events, and invites interested BSOs to indicate if they are attending any of the events or would wish for the CAIC to gather information or engage dialogue at any events. The full list is available at

https://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/news_events/LeadersSummit2018/UNGA-Week-2018-Business-Guide.pdf

Sep 24

10:30 am - 12 noon New Technology and mobile solutions

Co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the GSMA, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and UNDESA, this event brings together global leaders and experts from the public and private sectors to discuss how business and governments can collaborate to:

  • promote the effective and responsible use of new technologies, mobile services and innovation to accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals;  
  • close digital divides;  
  • support a sustainable planet;
  • and ensure the digital revolution leaves no one behind.

Sep 25 

4:00 pm Disrupting Climate Change

To address climate change, new technologies will need to be commercialized across a wide array of industries, yet securing the necessary financing to support such development remains a key hurdle in the energy transition. The conversation will be exploring the challenges and opportunities associated with financing new low-carbon technologies. Business leaders will share the work their companies are undertaking to develop new technologies, and discuss ways in which the financial sector and industry are partnering to advance these efforts.

Sep 26

3:00 pm to 7:30 pm Africa: Open for Business Summit 

The African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN), the UN Senior Africans Group, and the African Union Commission, and the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Global Partnerships Forum (GPF), with support from the United Nations Department of Public Information, will host the Africa: Open for Business Forum at the United Nations during the high-level debate in September to showcase the leadership of the African continent in addressing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Agenda 2063.

The private sector has been influential in the development of Africa’s economy, particularly in regard to the Sustainable Development Goals. Private equity players invested $3.8 billion in 145 deals across Africa in 2016, supporting initiatives ranging from agriculture and energy to healthcare and financial sectors. Many investment monoliths point out that investing in “social good” creates an even bigger return. Investing in Africa, as many have already realized, creates social good and financial return – the goal of impact investing.

The Africa Open for Business Summit Is a two-part Initiative, starting with the New York launch in September 2018, followed by the First Africa-Diaspora SDGs Summit, to be held later in Banjul, The Gambia. The Africa-Diaspora SDGs Summit will convene mayors and elected officials, youth international intergovernmental organization officials, educators, artists and intellectuals, the private sector and civil society, with a view towards Achieving Public Understanding of the SDGs and Africa Agenda 2063 through Education, building on the outcomes of the Africa: Open for Business Summit.

Sep 27

8:30 am Moody’s Climate Week Briefing

Hosted by Moody’s Investors Service in partnership with the Climate Bond Initiative (CBI), the Climate Week Briefing will focus on the risks that the climate change poses on corporations and governments, and the role of the green bond market in promoting a low carbon economy. Moody’s analysts will address carbon emission mitigation, it’s approach to green bond assessments, and the impacts expected from the green bond issuances which Moody’s has assessed to date.

Senior executives from the industry and Moody’s senior analysts will hold lively discussions on the following:

  • • The credit risks corporate sectors face as a result of carbon transition
    • The impact of physical climate risks on public finance issuers
    • How municipalities are incorporating green infrastructure and sustainability projects into critical programs 

5:30 pm to 9:00 pm Regional Action on Environmental Democracy to fulfill vision of 2030 SDGs

"Regional Action on Environmental Democracy to Fulfill the Vision of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda” is an event to enable dialogue and inspire countries to sign and ratify the Escazú Agreement, a historic binding treaty on environmental democracy for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasizing the rights of vulnerable people and environmental defenders. The Agreement opens for signature on the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. The event is hosted by the Governments of Costa Rica and Chile and United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and co-sponsored by The Access Initiative, Amnesty International, Civicus, Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR), Namati, Open Society Foundation, and World Resources Institute.

Request for Submissions of Interest

The Caribbean Policy Development Centre is commissioning a research paper under the auspices of the CARIFORUM Consultative Committee of the Economic Partnership Agreement.  This research aims to assess the status of trade in services within the Economic Partnership Agreement with reference to access by Caribbean service providers to European markets. Specific attention will be paid to access to markets by small to medium sized service providers in the CARIFORUM region. 

Terms of Reference: http://docdro.id/IpJbJxs

Application Deadline: All applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. (UTC/GMT-4) on Wednesday 20 June, 2018.

 

Courtesy: CPDC

Caribbean bankers urge readiness for the EU’s general data protection regulation

CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Caribbean Association of Banks urges Caribbean-based entities that interact with data on European Union (EU) citizens to implement the necessary systems and processes for compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). All entities that interact, in any way, with EU persons or their data, including (but not limited to) hotels, financial institutions, hospitals, airlines and professional services firms should be assessing whether GDPR applies to them.

GDPR is a comprehensive data privacy law that applies to businesses handling personal data of EU individuals, regardless of the businesses’ location or the occurrence of a transaction. GDPR covers all personal data such as emails, telephone details, ID cards, passport information, website cookies, etc., and this list is non-exhaustive. Entities are expected to be compliant with GDPR by May 25, 2018. Failure to comply has far reaching implications for entities and their business operations.

It is important to note that, if an entity does not comply with GDPR and its requirements, they expose themselves to significant penalties and fines.

If an entity is in breach of highly important data the resultant fines are:

• Up to 4% of its global gross turnover or,
• EUR 20 million (US$24.8 million)

If an entity is in breach of any other data the resultant fines are:

Up to 2% of its global gross turnover or,
EUR 10 million (US$12.4 million)

According to a Deloitte GDPR Benchmarking Survey only 15% of organizations surveyed expect to be fully compliant by May 2018, with many scrambling to implement appropriate measures.

The CAB strongly recommends that Caribbean financial institutions and other entities that interact with EU-citizen data assess their responsibilities under GDPR and put the necessary systems in place to avoid the negative consequences of non-compliance with GDPR.

 

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

Barbados government seeks bail out from private sector

Barbados' foreign reserves problem is so serious that Government is seeking a US$60 million to US$70 million bail-out from the private sector.

Governor of the Central Bank Cleviston Haynes revealed yesterday that for the first time in 27 years, the bank was requesting the private sector to repatriate some of its overseas funds as Government faced a major foreign loan payment next month.
But the private sector funds will not be enough.

Haynes, who delivered the first-quarter economic review yesterday during a press conference at the bank, said Government’s effort to divest assets, including the Barbados National Terminal Co. Ltd and the Hilton Barbados property, needed to proceed so that the reserves problem could be fixed.

His concerns came as the Central Bank reported that “higher public sector debt service obligations than usual contained the growth of international reserves at the Central Bank to $14 million for the period”.

“As a result, the import cover of 6.9 weeks at the end of March remained below the 12-week minimum holding that the bank considers as adequate,” Haynes said.

Barbados’ reserves were $423 million at the end of March, compared to $709.4 million in the same quarter last year.

Falling reserves

With the island due to service the US$225 Credit Suisse loan next month and in December, Haynes said the authorities could not afford to take any chances with the falling reserves.

“In 1991 as part of the adjustment effort, several private sector entities came together and provided on a voluntary basis, support to the Central Bank to help keep our liquidity at a certain level which we went through the adjustment phase. And once the adjustment was over, we were able to return those funds to those individuals,” he said.

“The bank contemplates that we will do some similar exercise on this occasion. We do so on the understanding that in the early 2000s, the bank allowed some of our corporate entities, particularly in the financial sector which had large investment balances, to invest some of those balances abroad on the condition that should the country need them in the future, that those funds would be returned to assist as they were done in ’91.”

Haynes added that the private sector funds would be sought on the understanding that “we would reciprocate in much the same way as we did once the challenge was over . . . by allowing them to take those funds back out.

“That is what we envisage and therefore in that context we anticipate that we should be able to stabilise the foreign reserves during this second quarter once we start to receive those funds,” he said.

Courtesy: Barbados Nation

Region needs its own bank - Barbados AG

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Saturday April 28, 2018 – Barbados’ Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, is proposing that Caribbean countries unite to either buy or establish an international commercial bank to protect the region from the current threat of pull-outs by foreign-owned financial institutions.

Delivering a lunchtime lecture yesterday, he pointed to the recent decision by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) to sell its majority shares in FirstCaribbean International – which was later rescinded – as an example of the need for such an institution.

“We are going to have to take the bull by the horn, as it were, and address the whole issue of how do we ensure that there will be banking in this region for our people. And it is my recommendation that heads of this region consider either investing in one of the existing international banks; taking a majority shareholding and/or buying one; and/or forming one and taking it as international as possible,” Brathwaite said, adding that this would protect the region from having to depend on foreign shareholders or directors whose sole interest was profitability in their backyards.

He admitted that there were issues with operating in the region, but was insistent that the threat of pull-out by foreign commercial banks must be addressed.

“From a regional perspective . . . we should form, and/or acquire an international bank, so that when these issues arise, some shareholder or some director outside of Barbados [doesn’t] make a decision to move the bank, sell the assets and disappear and then we are scrambling because our people don’t have any banking resources,” Brathwaite stressed.

His comments come on the heels of the announcement by FirstCaribbean, earlier this month, that it had withdrawn its recent public offering made in the United States and was no longer pursuing a listing of its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Back in December 2017, the Barbados-based regional financial institution announced that it had filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the proposed initial public offering (IPO) in the US of FCIB’s common shares in addition to seeking a listing on the NYSE. However, it subsequently said that “in view of market conditions” it would no longer pursue the US public offering and NYSE listing at this juncture.

The development came on the heels of a recent announcement by its parent company, CIBC, that it was pulling out of Barbados and the rest of the region.

In view of those developments, Brathwaite was adamant that the region could not take any chances, although he warned of naysayers who would point to the collapsed CLICO International Life Insurance Company.

At the same time, he pointed out that regional central banks which were responsible for regulating the sector were not known to have breached any international best practices.

“So I am not afraid of a regional bank being regulated by our central banks and being managed by us here in the region,” Brathwaite said. (Barbados Today)

 

Courtesy: Caribbean 360

CARICOM calls for new joint regulatory standards ahead of UK parliament debate

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — In a statement on Saturday, ahead of a UK Parliamentary debate on Tuesday on a Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that will have an effect on the financial services of the Overseas Countries and Territories, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) called on members of the FATF and OECD Global Forum to work together to establish new international regulatory standards in areas such as beneficial ownership and tax information exchange, as opposed to unilateral measures.

“Such co-operation would be in the best interest of all in the pursuit of a more economically prosperous future, underpinned by international institutions, and where all societies, their internal institutions and peoples are respected,” the statement read.

 

CARICOM associate members, which include Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, are an integral part of the Caribbean Community family whose circumstances, self-governance and democratic rights should not be disregarded, the statement noted.

“In that context, we are deeply concerned about the potential impact on their economies by any impositions that would go against the spirit of democracy and diminish their standard of living. A number of our associate members have for some time run successful financial centres that meet the high standards of regulation set by international standard setting bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and OECD Global Forum,” CARICOM said.

CARICOM recognises that global security and financial crime are increasingly intertwined and therefore supports the work of the FATF and its regional bodies in developing international AML/CFT standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

“Within the Community, our member states and associate members have expended considerable resources towards achieving compliance with AML/CFT standards. Countries in the region have also supported global initiatives led by the OECD Global Forum and have entered the necessary international agreements to facilitate the sharing of information on beneficial ownership,” the statement added.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

DAIC Business Recovery Expo

Interested in investing or selling to Dominica?
Explore the opportunity at the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC) Business Recovery Expo.

Date: February 21, 2018
Venue: Palm Cottage, Corner Victoria and High Streets, Roseau, Dominica
Time: 9:00am to 1:00pm

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information

A regional private sector organisation – To what purpose?

In 1955, a private sector mission of the West Indian Incorporated Chambers of Commerce headed by Sir Garnet Gordon kick-started what later became known in 1970 as the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC). Its aim was to be the voice of the private sector in the region, representing private sector interests at meetings of Heads of Government and liaising with international bodies to further the agenda of the business community and to position the region as an economic hub for global trade.

In recent times, the CAIC had withdrawn from its original construct as a regional Business Support Organisation (BSO) dominated by powerhouse BSOs and multinational corporations that seeks the interest of its own constituents bolstered by support from their National Governments. CAIC’s withdrawal has been in an effort to not compete or poach in the territory of the national BSOs.

Its restructuring in 2012 hoped that the CAIC would become a repository of information; which the BSOs are usually loathe to share, and while there is distrust between the private sector and the government, there is also distrust amongst private sector organisations. This been compounded by changes in officials in both the government and the private sector, the economic state of the region and indeed the rest of the world.

The Caribbean Business Council

The call for the formation of the Caribbean Business Council (CBC) 11 years ago has been supported (and initiated) by the CAIC, whom, along with the CARICOM Secretariat attempted to operationalise the Council. In recent times the CAIC chaired the Steering Committee for the CBC organised by Caribbean Export who were to collaborate with the CARICOM Secretariat as decided by the 39th COTED.

A major challenge towards operationalising the CBC is the removal and natural cycles of leadership that has occurred over the past years. In waiting for the CBC to kickstart, many large companies have moved on and made inroads into new markets with and without the assistance of their governments. Whilst they may want to look upon the CAIC and find it irrelevant, what relevance then can the CBC give them, if constructed using the same model? Would it quell the distrust between organisations who should be working together?

Thus far, the initially proposed structure of the CBC did not differ from that of the CAIC 60 years ago, nor did it take into account the volatile conditions of global trade even though a new model for the CBC has been voted on by the usual powerhouses. A strong recommendation from the CAIC is that it be made up of a National Private Sector Organisation from each CARICOM member states and pan-regional private sector organisations with a rotating chair.

The CAIC believes that the CBC can be a true attempt at integration on a level that governments have failed. However, who would the CBC represent? CARICOM territories? CARIFORUM? The definition of the Caribbean adopted by the CAIC hails from the OAS which deems the Caribbean as all shores washed by the Caribbean Sea. It should be recognised however, that the CBC will become an affiliate arm of the CARICOM Community (CARICOM), and thus the recommendation is that it be a CARICOM Business Council.

In support of the CBC it is hoped that it would be representative of the CARICOM region, moving the region to a state of profitability where it can become a bargaining power rather than reliant on concessions; not a reinvention of the wheel expecting a different outcome with the same pillars to satisfy egos.

Where is the CAIC?

In an editorial from the Jamaica Gleaner of December 12, 2017, the editor asked if the CAIC could be the sort of organisation that purported to be the umbrella organisation for private sector organisations. With no physical office and an outsourced Secretariat, the CAIC was reduced to insolvency by the previous Heads as the once “big boys club” lost the support that its constitution defined as its backbone, with a look to establishing a new club whilst clamouring for a body to represent its interests and mediate with governments and international bodies.

In its current reincarnation, the CAIC has worked over the past five years intra-regionally on matters such as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Business Continuity, which has suddenly exploded as the topic of the day and everyone wants to jump on the wagon in the hopes that there is funding to be had. Trade with Russia, China, the Pacific and South East Asian territories, deemed to be too far away for businesses wanting to expand outside the region, have also been on CAIC’s agenda along with ACP and CARIFORUM-EU relations, the monitoring of the EPA, and the WTO agenda in engaging the private sector.

Losing the support of its founding members, the CAIC works predominantly with MSMEs and devotes its efforts to the creative industries including the fashion industry, trade in services, investment promotion and assisting both former stakeholders and financial members when called upon. Rife with the distrust in the region, CARICOM agencies would also call upon the CAIC to lend support and provide feedback while attempting to measure what mettle the CAIC may still hold in the region.

CAIC’s work with MSMEs is dominated by the fact that a major percentage of the private sector labour force is engaged in more entrepreneurship and small-scale expansion of businesses that survive the three-year mark. With increasing importance placed on MSMEs by various international bodies such as the WTO, the CAIC views the MSMEs as the future and can no longer be regarded as a small fish in the pond that larger enterprises disregard in seeking their own agenda.

The CAIC has also taken a position to support the decent work programme and the creation of more sustainable and value-oriented products and services. These concepts move away from the evolved culture of fast food, fast fashion, cheap products and cost cutting in the work environment and work force. This position may not hold well with some of our major stakeholders who are in the “merchant trade industry” but it is hoped that we can influence them to come into alignment with this strategy so we can preserve the depleting natural resources.

 

A Private Sector Organisation for the future

In crafting the CBC, which organisations believe would rob them of their independence, we should instead envision what private sector advocacy action and opportunities can be realised with the formation of the CBC. Given the economic hardships in the region and tribulations of BSOs, other fears arise with the financing of the CBC. Where would it come from? Locally? Do we go after international funding? In what areas? Which agency has funding for this purpose? Are we sure or are we doing guesswork? If not, the fears of organisations, big or small can either be alleviated or confirmed as a threat.

The CBC could change the tide and add value to the region giving voice to those who are otherwise disregarded such as the Haitians who are aggressively taking their goods and services to market, no longer begging and looking for handouts. However, their efforts are overshadowed by corrupt governments demanding aid that rarely filters down.

Are we prepared for an all-encompassing CARICOM represented business council? Giving heed to the needs of the territories that may be small but with talent to bolster and add experience, corporate governance, direction and progress to our existing regional agencies? Or are we simply trying to see what money we can swindle from the Europeans whilst tearing down the foundation of one organisation and rebuilding it in the same image and likeness to function as its predecessor.

 

This is the first of a three-part series by the CAIC on the subject matter with support for a common agenda.

Call for good practices of the private sector in DRR

he United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is inviting its partners, institutions and people interested in Disasters Risk Reduction from the Americas to share their Good Practices of the Private Sector in Disaster Risk Reduction.

The overall purpose of the Call for good practices of the private sector in DRR is to promote and exchange experiences on how the private sector is engaged in DRR in the Americas. The good practices can be related to how the private sector contributes to the implementation of DRR, how the private sector is making its business and community resilient, and how the private sector and the public sector work together on DRR.

Share your DRR experience for the chance to attend the 6th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, which will take place from 20 to 22 June 2018 in Cartagena, Colombia to present 'best practices' during a segment in the Ignite Stage.

Registration deadline:  March 15th, 2018


Please fill out your application online at the following link: http://eird.org/americas/call-for-good-practices-of-drr-in-private-sector/index.html

For more information contact Marianela Guzman Vargas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Devastation brought out generousity and spirit of togetherness - CARICOM Chair

End of Year Message by the Chairman of the Caribbean Community Dr. The Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada

There is no doubt that 2017 has been a most eventful year for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). We experienced a scale of multi-country devastation never before seen in the Region as two category five Hurricanes, Irma and Maria, raged through the Caribbean within two weeks.

The Governments and people of our Community immediately responded to assist their brothers and sisters with the generosity and spirit of togetherness which is our trademark. I therefore must pay tribute to those who so willingly extended a helping hand in the hour of need of our brothers and sisters in the stricken countries.
Even before the hurricane season was over, the resilient people that we are, we had begun to rally. We determined that we could use the rebuilding process to become the first climate resilient region in the world.

Recognising that we did not have the resources to achieve that goal on our own, we sought the assistance of the international community.

First, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), we organised the CARICOM-UN High Level Pledging Conference, “Building a More Climate-Resilient Community,” which was held in November at the UN Headquarters in New York. It brought together nearly 400 high-level representatives from governments, multilateral and civil society organisations and the private sector, and raised more than US$1.3 billion in pledges and over $1 billion in loans and debt relief.

In early December, at the One Planet Summit in Paris, a Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition was launched in partnership with Sir Richard Branson. The Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition seeks rapid implementation of a US$8 billion climate investment plan that will transform the regional energy system, build resilience, drive economic growth and set us on the road to being a climate resilient Region. Key areas for the initiative are: Resilient Housing and Shelter; Renewable Energy; Tourism and the Blue Economy; Physical Infrastructure; Government Systems and Security; Food Security and Climate-Smart Agriculture; and Human Capacity Development.

There has been a tremendous international response to this Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition. The private sector, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and UNDP have also played key roles as core partners of this initiative. In addition, the Green Climate Fund and The Nature Conservancy have also come forward with support. We anticipate starting implementation across the Caribbean in the New Year, while there is ongoing emergency work already being carried out in the affected countries.


Together we can build thriving economies fueled by clean energy, nature-based resilient design and innovation.


As a Region, we have been moving ahead in other areas as well. Heads of Government welcomed and approved the Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy as well as the Roadmap for a Single ICT Space. This would enhance the environment for investment and production, provide an opportunity for innovation to flourish, support a sustainable increase in growth and jobs, enhance efficiency in, and increase access to public services.


There has also been progress in our efforts to enhance the safety and security of our people. Several Member States signed the CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty which simplifies the procedure of returning fugitives to the country where charges have been laid. An expansion of the Advance Passenger Information System and planned introduction of the Advance Cargo Information System also signify the importance attached to the issue of Security.


During the year, we also took a hard look at the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and approved an Implementation Plan for 2017-2019 to accelerate the use of the measures under the regime. A lot has been achieved in implementing the CSME, including legal and institutional measures and mechanisms to support the free movement of goods, services, skills, and cross-border establishment of businesses. However, we will continue to review progress regularly to ensure that the benefits of this important aspect of our integration are accruing to our citizens.


One of the most important drivers of the Community’s economy, tourism, received special attention as we sought to address both immediate and long-term initiatives aimed at stimulating sustainable growth in tourism. We focused on marketing strategies and agreed to support various Public-Private Sector initiatives, which would entail engagement with other Caribbean countries, companies and multilateral organizations.


Engagements at the highest level with the Presidents of Mexico and Cuba enabled us to solidify those relationships and resulted in increased strands of co-operation, particularly in disaster risk management. This is a particularly important area for us, given the predicted rise in the intensity and frequency of climatic events for our Region.

Lessons learnt from this year’s experiences will serve us well as we go forward in the era of the “new normal.” We have proven that we can withstand the slings and arrows of misfortune and bounce back stronger than ever. Let us continue to band together and ensure that we build a resilient Caribbean Community for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

My brothers and sisters, as we enjoy this festive season, let us spare more than a thought for those who are still in difficult circumstances. Happy Holidays and a bright, creative and productive New Year.

 

Courtesy: CARICOM Secretariat

 

 

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