Jul-Nov, 2013
In This Issue:
  • View Isocon & JAMPRO Success Story Videos  
  • Compete Caribbean Approves Funding for the Rupununi Cluster in Guyana  
  • Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) Facility to Fund Ten USD50,000 Regional Projects
  • Compete Caribbean Boosts Caribbean Private Sector Participation - VII  Americas Competitiveness Forum in Panama
  • Compete Caribbean Provides Technical Support to the National Competitiveness & Productivity Council (NCPC) Launched Recently in St. Lucia 
View the ISOCON-JLB Story
View the JAMPRO Story
Compete Caribbean Funding Helps The Rupununi Cluster Generate Employment In Indigenous Communities In Guyana

By Louise Armstrong  
Project Development Officer - Support to Clustering Initiatives

Compete Caribbean


The Arapaima Fish
Lack of opportunities for sustainable and legal economic activity within the North Rupununi of Guyana led to male migration, widespread unemployment and households led by women.  


A group of eco-lodges clustered in this area devised a plan to develop themselves into an innovative and eco-friendly experiential tourism model that provides opportunities for men and women from 16 Amerindian communities.  


These eco-lodges are Rewa, Surama and Karanambu and the obvious solution for them was to offer tourists a unique catch and release sport fishing experience around the conservation of the endangered Arapaima  fish, which is the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world, underpinned by the specialty offerings of the three lodges and their surrounding indigenous communities.  


By making the Arapaima Fish worth more alive than dead, the lodges want to put the Rupununi on the map for fishing enthusiasts around the world; thus increasing opportunities for employment in a region populated by women led households.  


The project envisions attracting professional anglers to venture inland for supervised catching and releasing of Arapaima. The Arapaima is a protected species and over the past two years, with the support of the Guyanese Government, the three eco-lodges have been testing the sustainable tourism model and demonstrating that Arapaima can be worth more if left alive than if poached. None of the Arapaima have been lost through the "Catch and Release Sport Fishing".

Other available activities include bird-watching, nature photography, hikes, river rides, and interaction with community members.

As well as tackling the issue of generating icreased economic activity for the Rupununi, these lodges are also focused on social development, women empowerment, and environmental protection. For example, to protect their Arapaima stocks and the wider eco-system, they have been scientifically developing enforceable biodiversity protection mechanisms.

In July of 2013, Compete Caribbean approved funding to support these lodges to develop on their own terms. Over the next two years, Compete Caribbean will be working with this cluster to support them in developing and promoting their tourism offerings.
Compete Caribbean Awards Ten Technical Assistance Grants Under the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) Facility  


The Compete Caribbean Program recently approved a facility to support the implementation of high priority reforms that emanated from the deliberation of the CGF National Chapters.

These grant resources will fund ten high priority reforms valuing no more than US$50,000 each. Request for proposals closed on September 30, 2013.

Several initiatives are being considered to improve the pace at which the Caribbean is developing as an inclusive society that is more focused on increased investment, productivity and enhanced competitiveness. The aim of the CGF is to identify policies and initiatives aimed at inducing growth and creating jobs in the Caribbean region through analytical work, knowledge exchange and inclusive dialogue. 
Since the launch in June 2012, the CGF has provided a platform for dialogue around the growth challenge with a view to identifying practical economic policies to induce sustainable economic growth in the region. The platform has engaged a broad group, reaching beyond the traditional stakeholders to other critical players in the dialogue on economic growth including the private sector with a strong representation of women in business, the youth, and civil society. 

Presently, 11 of the countries that have started the process have developed a relatively action oriented set of actions to be undertaken in the short term. The CGF Facility is aimed at supporting the implementation of some of the most pertinent actions that will help to demonstrate the initial benefits of the CGF process and stimulate greater commitment for the implementation phase of the Forum. 
Grants aimed at improving the enabling environment for business development, trade, and integration were awarded to Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica X 2, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Suriname. 

VII Americas Competitiveness Forum Proves Insightful 
By Wayne Elliott
Project Development Officer
Compete Caribbean

In October, the Compete Caribbean Program sponsored a contingent of 30 Caribbean delegates to participate in the VII
Americas Competitiveness Forum in Panama.

At this Forum, and in an effort to increase awareness of the Program, as well as, to continue partnerships in the sub-region, Compete Caribbean hosted a workshop on "Access to Finance and MSMEs: How Secured Transactions Systems and Collateral Registries could help to increase Access to Finance in the Caribbean".


The panel attracted over 60 participants from the civil society, private and public sectors across the hemisphere, most of them from the Caribbean. Sylvia Dohnert, Executive Director of Compete Caribbean and the moderator of the panel provided the context of access to finance in the Caribbean, introduced the topic of Secured Transactions and how they have been used to alleviate some issues related to access to finance in the Hemisphere, and highlighted the work that is currently being undertaken by the program to address some of these issues.


Mr. Allen Welsh, Attorney at Law and Secured Transactions Specialist, deepened the discussion by introducing the audience to the "Basics of Modern Lending Secured by Personal Property." In this presentation, Mr. Welsh provided participants with a summary of the findings of a survey of existing laws and some of the shortfalls that currently exist in some of the legislation of the region. He also described to the audience the benefits that could be derived from the set-up of secured transactions systems and the purpose of such reforms. Specifically, well-functioning secured transactions systems must: (i) eliminate forms & reduce transaction costs; (ii) simplify registration processes; (iii) eliminate uncertainty among competing creditor claims and; (iv) streamline and reductions in the cost of enforcement.


The Panel

The final presenter, Mr. Marco Bogran, Executive Director of MCA-Honduras described the journey that Honduras undertook in setting up its secured transactions systems. Mr. Bogran provided some insights about the design and implementation process of offsetting up the registry within the Tegucigalpa Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He also provided real examples of the access to finance needs that the registry in Honduras meets for SMEs, and the populations that it serves. Finally, he showed how the registry was growing and becoming more popular, yet highlighted that the process is gradual and relies on proper and keen communications.


The team also took the opportunity to take the Caribbean contingent on a study tour of "best practice" cases related to competitiveness in Panama: A visit to the Panama Canal, a close encounter with Panama's National Competitiveness Council and a site visit to Panama's City of Knowledge. Thirty delegates from the Caribbean , as well as additional persons from the general sessions attended the study tour.


By facilitating the participation of public and private sector stakeholders from the Caribbean in this conference, as well as by hosting the study tour, Compete Caribbean helped stimulate and generate ideas to increase competitiveness in the countries that attended; including: Secured Transactions' Systems as an alternative to enhance access to credit throughout the region, how to structure public-private dialogue and the potential roles for a Competitiveness Council in this regard, and how to create synergies around innovation and knowledge-generating activities, such as those occurring in Panama's City of Knowledge.

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) Launches in St. Lucia
With technical support from Compete Caribbean, the NCPC's first course of action was to  build the capacity of its staff and to provide Government with the blueprint for the establishment of a commercial court.
Economic Affairs and Social Security, The changing contours of the global political economy characterised by the erosion of preferential trade arrangements; dwindling grants and aid; increased competition for foreign direct investment and donor fatigue, demanded that the Government of St. Lucia maximize its limited resources.
Together with the Ministry of Finance Compete caribbean officially launched the NCPC on Friday, October 18, 2013.
The launch of the NCPC is consistent with Government's goal to ensure the efficient and proper use of available resources, increased levels of productivity, enhanced national competitiveness and provision of greater economic opportunity at all levels. Click to Visit the NCPC on Facebook

Compete Caribbean is a private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities in the Caribbean region. The program, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), supports projects in 15 Caribbean countries. The program's estimated value is US$40.0 million, of which DFID and CIDA contributed US$32.55 million. Projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.

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