President Irfaan Ali is of the view that the Caribbean’s Financial Sector must do more to mobilize capital to fill the region’s financial gaps.
He made the statement today as he addressed the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Regional Capital Market Conference.
Alluding to a recent report by the President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), President Ali pointed out that the gross financial needs of the Caribbean in 2020 was in excess of US$10B.
“The challenges facing our financial system in the Caribbean is whether it can rise to the occasion of mobilizing the capital requirement for financing regional development. We know that this cannot be done from the savings within the region and therefore the challenge would have to involve partnerships with others,” President Ali reasoned as he delivered a virtual presentation.
He said the region cannot develop with a silo mentality.
It was noted that while a few banks exist within the region, there is need for more, including indigenous banks.
The President explained that for the region’s financial sector, investment has to become more aligned with the key regional economic objectives.
“This includes food and energy security and transition, which requires tens of billions of dollars in investment. Without investment our region energy, food, security plans will flounder. The region’s financial system therefore must take account of the development plans of the region, and I think, the regional financial system, also must be able to proactively respond to the needs of the region and we cannot do so without combining our efforts,” President Ali submitted.
The President also said a financial model is needed to address the transportation and logistics problems the region faces.
But, he warned that financial markets are not without risks, and explained that the deeper the region becomes integrated into the global financial markets, the higher the risks of global problems will be.
As such, he said there is need for strong regulations and financial institutions that would protect investors from extreme risks of implosion by financial institution.
That aside, President Ali said with Guyana on the verge of becoming a major economic powerhouse in the Caribbean, it is open for partnerships with financial institutions in the region.
“An open invitation is extended to Caribbean financial institutions to come to Guyana, and to explore the opportunities available. We are just as keen to partner with the regional institutions as we are in forging international partnerships. We are seeking partnerships, not only to develop our oil and Gas Sector but also to modernize our traditional sectors such as agriculture, gold, diamond, bauxite, manganese mining and forestry,” he said.
Guyana, he added, is set to become the energy and industrial capital of the region, a regional food engine, an ecotourism destination, a major aquaculture producer, and a mecca of regional cricket.
Already, the country is forging stronger partnerships with major economies such as Brazil, Canada, China, India, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the United States of America.