By Vishani Ragobeer
There are pressing developmental needs across the Caribbean but not enough money to meet those needs; as such, Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali has called on the region’s financial sector to mobilise funds more aggressively.
The Head of State, speaking during the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s Regional Capital Market Conference on Thursday, reminded all that the region faces food, energy and climate crises.
The government, the private sector and other stakeholders are tasked with responding to these crises. But inadequate finances slows much-needed investments, Dr. Ali contended.
“The Caribbean financial sector needs to play a more instrumental role in mobilising capital to fill the region’s financing gap.
“…We know that this cannot be done from the savings within the region,” he said.
As he urged regional financial institutions to seek more funds, President Ali also encouraged those institutions to collaborate with each other and “take up greater space.”
Even with more financing sought, the President said there is another key consideration – regional financial institutions should align themselves with regional priorities.
And those priorities, he said, include boosting food trade and facilitating greater food trade, and helping countries to develop more projects using renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydropower to cut the harmful dependency on fossil fuels like diesel.
“Without investment, our regional energy and food security plans will flounder.
“The regional financial system must be able to proactively respond to the needs of the regions,” Dr. Ali emphasised.
Guyana, in particular, is seeking financial partners to fund its myriad of plans meant to help solve regional food and energy security needs.
He frankly acknowledged that the assets of the local financial sector are insufficient to fund all of Guyana’s plans.
So he keenly noted that financial institutions, once in partnership with the government or local private sector, would be able to finance projects in the oil and gas sector and many of the other sectors now expanding.
The President’s calls have not fallen on deaf ears.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Jamaica’s Barita Investments Ltd, Ramon Small- Ferguson, who visited Guyana this week as part of a Jamaican business delegation, acknowledged that there are indeed numerous business opportunities in Guyana.
“We see tangible opportunities for ourselves and for the companies that have accompanied us on the mission.
“…I think over the next couple of months, I think you will see new partnerships coming out of this mission whether it is businesses coming to like-minded businesses on the ground or financial institutions like ourselves doing business on the ground,” the Deputy CEO said during an interview with the News Room on Tuesday.