CASTRIES, Saint Lucia, November 28. - Saint Lucia’s government reported today concrete advances in investment climate, connectivity, and productivity at the second accountability workshop of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF).
During the workshop, Government, private sector, civil society, youth and academia concluded that the country has made significant progress in meeting its commitments made at the start of the CGF. The St. Lucian GF chapter is coordinated by the Department of Planning & National Development of the Ministry of Finance, and comprises of representatives of the Government and Private Sector in collaboration with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, Compete Caribbean and the Caribbean Development Bank.
Over the last decade, Saint Lucia has grabbled with the challenge of reshaping its economy; growth has been slow and unemployment, particularly among the youth, high. The CGF has provided a forum to assist the government in implementing reforms needed for the country to become more competitive and innovative.
The discussion highlighted the following results and additional actions needed to:
- Enhance Internet, ICT-related services and infrastructure: The Ministry of the Public Service established Wi Fi hot spots at key locations throughout the island. A community access centre is now accessible and available to residents in the town of Soufriere and construction of two new ICT access centres has commenced in Micoud North and Vieux-Fort South. Saint Lucia will be the recipient of a Government Island Network Project destined to create Wi Fi hotspots island-wide. Wi Fi hot spots will also be created at libraries throughout the island to increase access to communities and schools.
- Assess fiscal incentives for improved business climate: The Department of Finance has commenced work to enhance the effectiveness of the current incentives regime, and improve transparency of incentives. This project is expected to provide additional support to private sector development by re-focusing the incentives regime on specific development objectives.
- Boost productivity- Through the National Productivity Council, the government completed the first “productivity assessment,” an innovative approach that includes teaching youth and providing tools to increase on productivity in the workplace.
The Economic Planning Unit within the Department of Planning & National Development is facilitating continued dialogue and implementation of CGF activities. The CGF’s Saint Lucia Chapter was formally launched in January 2013 under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning and Social Security.
The CGF provides a platform for private sector and civil society to give feedback on national and regional reforms and help track the implementation of actions needed to spur sustainable growth and opportunities for all in the Caribbean.