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CARICOM Ready to Deepen Investment And Trade With Africa

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By Melissa Rollock

Barbados GIS

 

Africa accounted for only two per cent of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) total trade in 2018, prior to the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since then, trade between the two regions has been negatively impacted.

However, Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Carla Barnett, believes the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum, which got underway today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, is an important first step in expanding and deepening trade relations between the African continent and CARICOM.

The Secretary General pointed out during the opening ceremony that the potential to do business with Africa was “tremendous”, noting that the market represented by the African continental free trade arrangement was set to reach US $6.7 trillion in value by 2035.

She further stated that in order to grow trade and investment flows between the Caribbean Community and Africa, the infrastructure such as air and maritime distribution and transportation channels, needed to be strengthened and streamlined.

“We need to move to establish a multilateral air services agreement between African countries and the Community. Using this forum, and other mechanisms such as our mutual membership in the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States, we can continue to promote and forge business to business contacts through networks of private sector organisations and business development support organisations such as our Caribbean Export, which is our regional trade and investment promotion agency.  We at CARICOM look forward to concluding the memorandum of understanding between the Secretariats of CARICOM and the African Union to strengthen collaboration to support this process,” Dr. Barnett stated.

To illustrate the need for greater relations in trade, she explained that in 2018, CARICOM exports to the rest of the world stood at US $18.6 billion with total exports to Africa at only US $815 million. CARICOM exports to Africa represented 4.4 per cent of its exports.  In that same year, CARICOM imports from the world totalled US $33 billion, with imports from Africa at US $603 million. Africa accounted for approximately only two per cent of the Caribbean Community’s total trade.

Currently, the top exports to Africa include anhydrous ammonia, alumina, oil drilling tubing materials, sauces and condiments and frozen orange juice concentrate. The main markets are Morocco, Ghana and South Africa. The top 10 imports from Africa include liquified natural gas, vehicles, barium sulphate, bitumen and coriander, with the main sources being Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco.

Citing the benefits which the Community offered to investors, she said the region was a strong performer in the services sectors such as travel, tourism and financial services.  Additionally, Dr. Barnett said they were working to transform the agriculture and industrial sectors.

“Our 25 by 2025 agricultural initiative (reducing the region’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025) already is gaining momentum. We are promoting investment in agriculture, including two excellent agri-investment expos that have been held so far.  And we are backing this up with decisive actions to address trade barriers and promote productivity across the region. Work has started on an industrial policy that will complement the positive steps already underway in agriculture,” she shared.

The Secretary General said CARICOM also offered investors “a gateway to partner markets”, pointing out that its preferential trade agreements with several Latin American and Caribbean neighbours “and others” provided significant market access opportunities.  She noted that these markets represented a combined US $11 trillion in imports of goods and services.

Dr. Barnette said that with the African continental free trade area and the CSME presenting solid platforms for trade and economic cooperation, she expected the “first” AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum to be a success.

 

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Caribbean News

Vessels sink with 900 barrels of fuel in Trinidad

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#Trinidad, December 2, 2022 – The Ministry of Energy and Energy Resources in Trinidad reported on Wednesday that a ship carrying 900 barrels of diesel fuel had sunk in the Gulf of Paria. The six crew members on board were rescued and received medical assessment.

The statement revealed that the barge owned by Trinity Liftboat Services Limited was trying to demobilise Trinity Heritage Petroleum Company’s North Field when it capsized.

After receiving an SOS from a vessel in their North Field, Heritage sent out a response team. An investigation into the incident has started, however, the main focus is to redeem the barge without making any oil spills.

The owners of the sunken vessel said “there are no injuries recorded. (The vessel) now sits on the seafloor no longer posing a risk to any of Heritage Petroleum’s platforms or installations.” They said the captain made a good decision to abandon the ship so that the crew members could be rescued and transported back to base.

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Bahamas News

Digital coin created for Caribbean’s Dominica as island partners with Huobi

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – The Commonwealth of Dominica has partnered with cryptocurrency exchange Huobi, to issue its own national cryptocurrencies, Dominica Coin (DMC), and Digital Identity Documents (DID), already reports indicate a surge for the Huobi token.

This new collaboration with Dominica will bring the Caribbean one step closer to being a global cryptocurrency exchange centre.  Huobi also announced its intention to move headquarters from Seychelles to the Caribbean.

It was explained, “The deal is noteworthy partly because of its connections to crypto billionaire Justin Sun, founder of the Tron blockchain where the Caribbean island’s new token will initially reside.”

Dominica Coin (DMC) and digital identity documents (DID) will be issued by Huobi Prime via the TRON network (a project dedicated to building the infrastructure for a truly decentralized Internet); both will serve as credentials for the future metaverse platform based in Dominica. DIDs can be used for cryptocurrency Know Your Customer verification, applying for loans, and opening bank accounts on the island.

The DMC is not yet ready for launch, but The HT token is up 15% over the last 24 hours to $7.12. It’s up 40% over the past seven days.

As one of the first Caribbean islands to adopt the citizenship-by-investment policy, the Dominican government is seeking to delve into the metaverse and Web3 technology as a means to boost the country’s development.

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Bahamas News

Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

December 2, 2022 – Forty million children are at risk of Measles as what the World Health Organization is describing as an “imminent threat” takes shape. A joint report between the WHO and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control revealed that a record number of children missed their measles dose with 25 million children missing their first dose and 14.7 million children missing their second dose in 2021 alone.

Nine million cases of measles were recorded last year, twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks and 128,000 deaths occurred, the report says.

“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Measles is easily one of the most contagious viruses in the world and while many people think itchy spots when they think of the disease it can cause pneumonia, seizures and brain damage in about 30 percent of infected individuals.

Herd immunity will not work with this disease, say experts, unless 95 per cent of people or more are vaccinated; only 71 per cent of children in 2022 are fully vaccinated.

“Measles anywhere is a threat everywhere” the report said, emphasizing that no WHO region has achieved and sustained measles elimination.

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