Gopee-Scoon: Trinidad and Tobago ‘making significant strides’ to digitise economy

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Goope-Scoon

TRADE Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon has said this country not only has “a strong thrust” to advance renewable energy, but is also “making significant strides to diversify and digitise our economy.”

She was speaking at the virtual launch of the 2022 Caribbean Investment Forum on Tuesday morning.

The event will be held from November 8-11 at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain under the theme Building a Smarter, Greener Caribbean.

It is a collaboration between the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Caribbean Export Development Agency, the EU, Caricom and the Caribbean Development Bank.

A press release said the event is “designed to give investors from all corners of the globe the opportunity to explore the range of bankable investment projects available across the Caribbean

“(It) serves as an investment attraction platform, providing opportunities for delegates to make contacts, forge partnerships, deepen relationships and co-operate on various projects.

Gopee-Scoon said while the region faces a “unique set of challenges,” there are “numerous opportunities to create new avenues for growth.”

The region’s location, accessibility, openness, stability, as well as linguistic and cultural diversity, she said, have drawn people from across the globe.

In addition, she said, the inclusion of competitive rates and incentives, along with a well-educated population “are important for those seeking a sound return on any investment.

“The Caribbean Investment Forum is our window to the world and we look forward to welcoming investors and business executives who wish to strengthen and diversify their products in the areas.

Despite the “turbulent past and, to some extent, the present,” she said the world is recovering, adding that the global FDI (foreign direct investment) flow continues an upward trajectory.

“There are signs of change: companies and governments across the Caribbean improving and digitalising their services and their processes – firms of all sizes have been moving their businesses to the region.”

As for TT, she said, a digital society is the government’s “foremost priority.”

Executive director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency Deodat Maharaj said the forum is an “exciting initiative” and set to be the largest gathering of businesses since March 2019, “And to the best of my recollection, the largest gathering of businesses in the Caribbean for a very long time.”

He said the forum’s partners “provide eloquent testimony of steering innovations in our way to create jobs and opportunities.

“We at Caribbean Export clearly realise that given the challenges we face as a region, ranging from high debt burdens to declining vulnerability, that business and investment have an absolutely critical role to play in driving the transformation of our region.”

He said the last two years showed economies the importance of building resilience.

“Covid placed enormous stress on our economies.

“Businesses and investments have a vital role to play in creating much-needed jobs and opportunities.”

He too spoke of “entering the digital world” through e-commerce, technology and digitalisation.