BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS – Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes there are tremendous investment opportunities in Barbados and the motherland of Africa.
Ms. Mottley expressed this view on Wednesday evening after a successful meeting held with the President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Professor Benedict Oramah, as they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that creates the framework to explore areas of investment and interest at the PM’s residence, Ilaro Court.
The Prime Minister said, “When we met, you spoke about the things that have been able to promote trade in Africa, in particular the trade information portal. We believe that through the establishment of a joint working group between our private sector and your bank and elements of the African private sector that we can also begin to ensure that information flow that is so necessary to trade in goods or services can begin to happen.”
“We know that there are tremendous opportunities, but unless people can see them firsthand, they are not going to have the confidence to invest in them as we would like,” stressing the importance of a direct link between Africa and the Caribbean, and said it was up to us as independent nations to build those bridges, so air and sea transport would be readily available,” PM Mottley said.
She added, “We accept that with the air transport market we will have to probably start with charters. And we accept that there is an increasingly large middle-class across Africa who have a desire to want to travel and for whom the Caribbean can be that place, which is home away from home. And we hope we can work with you and other countries in Africa to be able to do so.”
Ms. Mottley said, the Afreximbank was a success in facilitating trade within Africa in local currency, and Government wanted to learn more about that process.
She said that she looked forward to cooperation among CARICOM, Africa, and the bank. “The opportunities for the African free trade area and the CSME to cooperate are many and we hope that in the next year we can start to be very specific about what opportunities we can benefit from,” she added.
Professor Oramah said the MOU sets out the vision of how to promote the trade and investment flows between Africa and the Caribbean.
“I think that today we began the process of concretising the aspirations our leadership has for the relationship between these two regions,” as he thanked PM Mottley for the “fantastic work” she had done over the years to strengthen relations with Africa.“ I would like to assure the people of Barbados and CARICOM, that we will do what we have to do to make sure that the Caribbean returns to Africa and Africa embrace the Caribbean. We look forward to being here again as we advance on this effort,” he stressed.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, underscored the importance of the visit, explaining that Barbados and CARICOM were keen to establish a relationship with Afreximbank.
“We want to open up investment opportunities for not just Barbadian businesses, but certainly those from Africa.” “Barbados recently opened High Commissions in Ghana and Kenya and is expected to establish a Consulate General in Morocco.
Additionally, Government is committed to fostering strong bilateral relations with Arab States and the opening of our Embassy in the United Arab Emirates demonstrates that determination.
Therefore, strong relations with Afreximbank is the next logical step,” Straugh stated.He noted that in 2020, the Afreximbank greatly assisted Barbados in signing on to the African Medical Supplies Platform to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.