Unlocking Finance – A Prerequisite for Caribbean Transformation

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by Deodat Maharaj, Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency

As we in the Caribbean seek to fast-track recovery and build a post COVID-19 world where business plays a leadership role in creating much needed jobs, access to finance remains a major constraint. The World Bank in its 2020 Ease of Doing Business Report notes that of the 14 Caribbean countries that were reviewed in its annual report, only 3 of them Jamaica (ranked 15th), Trinidad & Tobago (ranked 67th) and Guyana ranked 94th) are among the top 100 countries globally in accessing credit. This is out of a total of 190 countries. Simply put, we are not doing well in this critical index.

In 2016 the Caribbean had 11 countries ranked among the top 100. This worsening situation tells an all too familiar story in our region. I hear these stories on a daily basis, in conversations with businesspeople across the Region on the massive challenges in accessing finance. The World Bank´s report captures a very important part of the story on lending in the Caribbean. Surveys undertaken by Caribbean Export point to as much as 48% of small and medium scale business, reporting that access to credit is THE major challenge they face.

We at Caribbean Export are providing some critical assistance in this area. With support from the European Union, we continue to provide much needed financial assistance to small and medium business across the Region. More specifically, we have been providing small scale grant financing to help these businesses withstand the shock of the pandemic and create new opportunities.

Read more at: Caribbean Export

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