Chamber of Commerce Sint Eustatius is one of the key Innovation stakeholders on the island. Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, OCTA Innovation Team Leader visited Sint Eustatius from May 28-30, 2018. That was opportunity for having several meetings with the Director of the Chamber of Commerce Sint Eustatius Ms. Petronila Lara Reyes.
The hurricanes Irma and Maria caused significant damage on Caribbean Islands. Because of destroyed connections, trade and tourist flows have stopped almost entirely. A temporary ferry connection was established between Saba, Statia and St. Kitts. St. Kitts is connected to international and local air links which can help to revitalise tourism. This service provides the opportunity for visitors and locals to travel between the islands, which creates the possibility for the tourism industry to survive during a difficult period. This agreement would not be possible without the cooperation and assistance of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands.
To support entrepreneurs, Dutch government secured 2.48 million euros available to the governments. Entrepreneurs can ask for a refunding request in case they have lost a large part of their turnover due to the consequences of the hurricane. With this scheme, the government helps companies interested in tourism to overcome this difficult period of reconstruction.
A special meeting of CARIFORUM Council of Ministers, March 26-27, 2018 in St. Kitts and Nevis affirmed that members of the 15-country Caribbean grouping is preparing on four fronts to adapt to a shift of relations with the European Union.
Opening the meeting, Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation of Saint Kitts and Nevis said:
“We can all agree that we serve at a time when the tectonic plates on which our engagement with the European Union rest, continue to shift. It is a time which requires us simultaneously to:
- Grapple with implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA),
- Assess the impact of the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (BREXIT), in an effort to mitigate against it,
- Ensure the roll-over of the EPA into a CARIFORUM-UK Free Trade Agreement, preserve the level of market access into the UK market as obtains under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and
- Consider our options for future engagement with the EU, Africa and the Pacific in the Post-Cotonou era.“
“… each of these components demands that we remain focused and strategic in our approach to engagement with key partners both in our region and in Europe,” he added.
CARIFORUM member states are: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs): Anguilla, Aruba, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands Montserrat Turks and Caicos Islands and the Netherland Antilles, all have observer status in CARIFORUM.
Minister Brantley added that CARIFORUM Member States were preparing texts for submission to the United Kingdom with the aim of preserving the current level of market access into the United Kingdom after 2019 under the Economic Partnership Agreement signed with all Member States of the EU.
He said: “We are of the view that development cooperation in the form of technical assistance, capacity building, and financial mechanisms to enable our region to capitalise on the market access opportunities resulting from free trade agreements are meritorious.”
Trade and export incentives for entrepreneurs of the Caribbean Netherlands and the Caribbean countries within the Kingdom.
As of 1 January 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened up the instruments for trade and export promotion to all entrepreneurs in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom. Entrepreneurs with export ambitions from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and Sint Maarten can now take part in these instruments.
The project is on the world wide level an highly innovative project for developing sustainable fisheries, particularly in Sint Eustatius and Caribbean islands. Due to the small population of Sint Eustatius and the abundance of fish and other marine life in the reef in the marine park, fishermen in Sint Eustatius have to date avoided overfishing in the area. The pilot project, called Statia Blue, will create sustainable practices for fisheries in Sint Eustatius. The proposed solution is a mobile application that puts buyers of fish in touch with suppliers of fish on a “real-time” basis. A key component of Statia Blue is to ensure that fishermen increase compliance with the principles of sustainable fisheries and thereby play an active role as stewards of the protected reefs, parks and species which are the fragile natural endowments of the island and its people.
The proposed solution involves the engagement of fisher-folk in education on pricing and the market mechanism and support of that education using mobile application technology for creating a real-time market place for fish and seafood. The application will be used for ongoing education, supporting market clearing prices and monitoring and evaluation of catches to encourage sustainable practices such as fishing a safe distance from protected zones and management of the invasive species.
Working with a small group of fishermen, the project proposes to provide them a mobile app (“Statia Blue”) and waterproof mobile phones. As fish are caught, the fish is identified and described (size and weight) and reported back to a central database. At the central database the price of that fish and the total catch is estimated based upon the fish caught by all fishermen on that day. Prices are reported back to the fishermen so that they can make informed decisions about the harvesting of those fish. Fishermen can continue or stop fishing depending upon their satisfaction with the price estimated on the market. A pricing mechanism will be used to signal to fishermen which fish are in demand. The app will also have an educational element, administered by Sint Eustatius National Park (STENAPA) who will also raise the credit lines on fishermen’s access to the STENAPA credit card as an incentive for participating in the pilot project. Statia Blue will also have a consumer interface, reporting on which fish are advisable for eating during the season based upon data on the stock of fish in the Statia’s waters. The pricing element will also be present to reduce adverse selection.
The project is expected to benefit fishermen in primarily Sint Eustatius as well as Saba and St. Maarten and the closest off shore markets for fish- St. Kitts and hoteliers in Sint Maarten, as well as to other Caribbean islands. The successful deployment of this project in Sint Eustatius has benefits for the fishing grounds around the neighbouring islands. In addition, the innovation can be a best practice for all OCTs trying to develop their fisheries.
On 26th of April the Bureau of Innovation (BI) hosted their “Coffee Byte Sessions”, a small two-hour learning event on different topics in Aruba’s society in which BI invites experts in their respective fields to discuss and present their knowledge with interested people.
BI invited Mister Atwell Aniceta – Local Representative from CX PAY, to come and share his experience on CX PAY and e-Commerce in Aruba in general. This topic resulted in being a “sold out” event. The invitation shared with BI’s mailing list clearly stated limited seating available – which made everybody invited RSVP within no time.
With the world changing and customer behavior changing with it, BI decided it was time to invite Merchants to hear what CX PAY can offer when it comes to e-commerce and to point out that there are indeed solutions within Aruba to keep up with the pace of change.
During this event Merchants, Bankers and even Economic Affairs came together and discussed their concerns, idea’s and insight on what would be needed to establish a secure way to e-commerce.
CX PAY is committed to assist the industry with the ultimate goal to maximize sales easily and effectively by creating a securely protected environment against fraud by using the highest level of secure transaction infrastructure available to their clients with a simple “local buying feeling experience”.
What stood out is the possibility to finally receive your money locally on your account within just a few days in a cost effective way. Also present at the Coffee Bytes, CMB / MCB Representative Annelien Tromp-Diaz showing their ongoing support in opening the market for those in need and being one of the steady partners with CX PAY. This way CX PAY presents you with local partners, who understand the market, language plus the supply and demand of customer and merchant. What became clear during this session is how other banks in Aruba have not yet shown their full support on this option, making it difficult for the Merchants to move forward as well.
Overall it was a very informative session, with a lot of different dynamics and the merchants being central in their need to move forward and to become innovative while looking for the right tools to do so.
More on Bureau of Innovation
TCI’s government is promoting organic agriculture, eco-tourism and introducing agriculture to the school curriculum – all innovations to be applauded. One company even has ambitions to sell tea to China! Organic agriculture and food are being seen as key to solving a recent rapid rise in health problems.
These were all subjects of discussion during a meeting between TCI’s Director of Agriculture Wilhemina Kissoonsingh and Milan Jezic von Gesseneck during his mission to TCI.
Milan Jezic von Gesseneck had the opportunity to visit Courtney Missick’s Organic Farm and the Caicos Tea Company which started up in 2016. The company is known on the local market for its high quality products and attractive packaging. Its plan is to cover 100 per cent of the TCI market and export – even to China!
The EU has historically maintained strong relations with the Caribbean. This stems in large part from the colonial presence of European countries in the region; many are still present through Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
The EU’s relations with the 16 independent Caribbean countries are shaped by various overlapping institutional frameworks, governing political relations, trade and development.
The 16 are members of the Cotonou Agreement (2000-2020) – the EU’s partnership agreement with a group of 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The related European Development Fund (EDF) – revised every five years – provides national and regional development funding for ACPs. The current EUR 346 million regional envelope for the Caribbean under the 11th European Development Fund (2014-2020) prioritises: regional economic cooperation and integration; adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, environmental disaster management and renewable energy promotion and security and crime prevention across the region.
It is complemented by the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), covering trade related issues and the 2012 Joint Caribbean EU Partnership Strategy, dealing with political issues.
The EU-CARIFORUM EPA is a pioneering agreement in the international trading system.Through the EPA, the two regions aim to build on their long-established economic ties to foster growth, jobs and development in the Caribbean.
The 2012 Joint Caribbean-EU Partnership Strategy is a structured framework for broader and deeper dialogue and cooperation, strengthening the political dimension of the relationship alongside the more traditional existing trade and development aspects. It intensifies cooperation in a number of core areas of mutual interest: regional integration, reconstruction of Haiti, climate change and natural disasters, crime and security and joint action in multilateral fora.
Bonaire has initiated a project that intends to increase the level of food production and economic diversification through establishing a sustainable production chain in the field of micro-algae.
The project is a collaboration between Bonaire and the Nerherlands’ Wageningen University and its research centre. A specific objective is the development of an advanced technology for stand-alone production of algae products. Success of the project will lead to the construction of an algae production plant (Bonaire AlgaePARC), creating new jobs and establishing a new economic sector for the island while making use of resources available.
Embarking on algae production will generate jobs and income and help Bonaire become less dependent on tourism. Bonaire will act as regional center of excellence for this production as the other Caribbean OCTs that have the same climatological conditions as Bonaire.
Regional cooperation with the Caribbean Export Development Agency which principal task is to enhance the competitiveness and value of Caribbean brands through the delivery of transformative and targeted interventions in export development and investment promotion. Caribbean Export is the regional trade and investment promotion agency in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. Established collaborative links with the French Caribbean Outermost Regions (FCORs) and with the EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
Extensive set of best practice in developing export and investment promotion could be find in the region. As well as opportunities for regional cooperation. In 2016 at least two regional events with the OCTs are planned, namely sponsoring some OCT SMEs to come to a tradfair in Dominican Republic in October and a small trade mission from Haiti to Aruba before end of the year.
Currently we are very pleased talking to the Executive Directors Pamela Coke Hamilton and Escipion Oliveira, how to foster relations.