Saint Lucia
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Caribbean Business Initiative seeks to help Regional Entities Strengthen their Access to Finance

A workshop was recently held, here, to provide insights into the work and objectives of the Caribbean Business Enabling Environmental Reform (CBEE-R) Project.

The USAID CBEE-R is a three-year $8.6 million activity that aims to improve the business enabling environment in the region, contributing to stronger and more resilient businesses, and unlocking investment opportunities for economic growth.

CBEE-R activities will improve policies that enhance businesses access to electricity, internet connectivity, digital financial services, and access to finance through improved private sector engagement, a more effective public-private dialogue, and inclusive and participatory public policy assessment, development, and implementation.

CBEE-R will implement activities to support the achievement of the following results:

– Access to electricity for Business Improved

– Internet Connectivity and Use Increased; and Open, Inclusive and Secure Digital Economy Advanced

– Access to Digital Financing Services for Businesses Improved

– Improved Conditions for Firm Access to Finance

– Regulatory Compliance Rationalized/ Streamlined

– Public- Private Dialogue Established or Enhanced and Effective

Dr. Jeanelle Murray, Business Enabling Environment advisor within the Caribbean Business Enabling Environmental Reform Project [CBEE-R] described CBEE-R as a $US 8.6 million programme that works at improving the business enabling environment of 10 countries in the region.

Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Murray noted that the project “has designed its tasks and activities under each objective to help further the six-contract results, and these include; access to electricity for business improvements, and we would like to address this by focusing on legal and regulatory reform particularly in the renewable energy sector, which will help to increase resilience to climate change effects and energy independence”.

Director in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Dr. Esley Lafeuille spoke to the impact of the project on generations to come.

“The small businesses represent the future of industry in Saint Lucia and the future of our private sector. So, if they are having this issue of accessing finance and we’ve been trying to help them out with different programmes …such as the Youth Economy programme, the MSME Loan grant facility, and you have the SLDB and various commercial banks …creating their own products to help that out,” he noted.

Nonetheless, said Dr. Lafeuille, there is much more needed to be done, while recognizing the input from such initiatives as the Collateral Registry and other components making a difference in the overall development process and “the potential for lasting impact of this project.”

The CBEE- R is managed out of Washington DC by the International Development Group (IDG), but the regional field office is located in Barbados.

The stakeholder workshop was organized by the IDG, an implementing partner for United States Agency for the International Development (USAID).

Subsequently, the government of Saint Lucia, in particular, the ministry of commerce and private sector representatives seek to collaborate with the CBEE- R on specific enterprises in support of strengthening this enabling environment and contributing to strong private sector-led growth.

Capacity Building

An essential element of CBEE-R’s implementation involves enhancing the capabilities of the public and private sectors in the Caribbean to undertake critical BEE reforms by providing specialized training, technical support, and grants. The programme aims to bolster the capacity to establish a robust and meaningful Public Private Dialogue (PPD) where the private sector’s concerns are acknowledged and addressed by policymakers in the public sector.

CBEE-R will offer comprehensive grant programmes “to support capacity building and grantees during the grant application, co-creation process, and implementation stages.”