CAIPA, NY Consular Corps host major USA-Caribbean Investment Forum 

Delegates at CAIPA 2022 in the Dominican Republic.
Delegates at CAIPA 2022 in the Dominican Republic.
Photo courtesy CAIPA

The Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA), in collaboration with the Caribbean Consular Corps in New York, will be joining forces to host a US-Caribbean Investment Forum, on Sept. 15-16, 2023, on the fringes of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78).

CAIPA said on Tuesday that the USA-Caribbean Investment Forum, which takes place at the Marriott Times Square Hotel in Manhattan, will bring together entrepreneurs, investors, trade and development agencies “to promote investment in the Caribbean and provide a unique opportunity to connect with individuals and organizations driving economic progress in the Caribbean.”

CAIPA said the event will include: “Engaging panel discussions featuring thought leaders from diverse sectors; insightful keynotes shedding light on investment trends and opportunities; networking sessions to establish meaningful connections with members of the Diaspora; [and] exclusive previews of groundbreaking projects and initiatives.”

It is also anticipated that the Forum will be hosted in collaboration with the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Secretariat as one of the major events that will be held in celebration of CARICOM at 50 years.

On July 4, 1973, CARICOM was established to deepen regional integration. In 2023, CARICOM celebrates 50 years since the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which is seen as the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world. The milestone will be celebrated with several events under the slogan, “50 Years Strong: A Solid Foundation to Build On.”

“The hosting of the event in New York, USA, the financial capital of North America, at the time of the UNGA and CARICOM at 50, augurs well for the region’s visibility and for the focusing of attention on the need for investment in the Caribbean if the [UN] Sustainable Development Goals are to be attained,” said CAIPA in a statement.

“New York is also home to a significant Caribbean Diaspora, presenting an opportunity for the engagement of the Diaspora in the development of the region,” it added, stating that the US is the Caribbean’s largest trading partner and the most significant contributor to the region’s inflows of foreign direct investment.

Trade and investment relations have been managed between the US and the Caribbean under the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), which consists of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and the US–Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA).

There is also the US-CARICOM Trade and Investment Council and arrangements specific to Haiti, including the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Acts (HOPE Acts), and the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP).

A scene from CAIPA 2022 in the Dominican Republic.
A scene from CAIPA 2022 in the Dominican Republic. Photo courtesy CAIPA

CAIPA said the US is also home to a significant Caribbean Diaspora. Globally, about 9.1 million migrants from the Caribbean reside outside their countries of birth, according to mid-2020 estimates by the United Nations Population Division. Of these, about 860,000 (9 percent) lived elsewhere within the region.

Outside the region, CAIPA said the United States was by far the top destination for Caribbean immigrants, with an estimated 4.5 million Caribbean immigrant population in 2019, representing 10 percent of the nation’s 44.9 million total foreign-born population.

The Caribbean Diaspora represents more than US$12 billion in annual remittances into the region, according to BBVA Research, 2019.

In addition, according to a 2016 study done by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Caribbean Diaspora savings are estimated at more than US$7 billion.

CAIPA said parts of these savings could be tapped for investments in transformative projects in the region, including women-led projects and businesses.

“However, efforts to mobilize the Caribbean Diaspora have been sporadic, sparse and inconsistent,” said CAIPA, pointing to a recent Jamaican Diaspora survey conducted by Homestrings, a global Diaspora engagement platform, which “substantiates the deep commitment the US-based Jamaican Diaspora has for the country and for the region.”

CAIPA said it is “confident that such feelings are consistent across the entire Caribbean Diaspora.”

It hopes to unfold, at the event, “a new opportunity for the Caribbean Diaspora to invest in the region,” stating that work is currently underway on this proposal.

It is against this background that CAIPA and its partners are seeking to host an investment forum in New York, targeting institutional financiers, as well as the Caribbean Diaspora, and presenting viable investment opportunities in the region.

It is anticipated that the 23 member-countries of CAIPA will participate in this event, namely: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Sint Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

CAIPA said the objective of the Forum is to promote the Caribbean to institutional investors as “a premier investment destination, but also as a partner to the Diaspora in the achievement of development for the Caribbean.”

“The Forum will seek to build on this concept of partnerships for sustainability – a concept enshrined in Goal 17 of the SDGs [UN’s Sustainable Development Goals],” said CAIPA, adding that the Forum seeks to target about 200 delegates.

In this context, CAIPA said the conference will focus attention on priority sectors that may be of interest to US financiers, as well as the Diaspora, including, AgriTech, Hotel Development, Renewable Energy, Business Process Outsourcing, and Logistics and Transportation.

It is proposed that the event be led by a high-level delegate from the Caribbean such a president or prime minister, with invitations extended to the Mayor of New York, and that an investor-led generation firm be engaged to not only assist in securing the participation of potential investors but also in hosting meetings with potential Caribbean partners.

On Sept. 15, CAIPA said, the business meetings will be organized by an investor-led generation firm.

CAIPA said the meetings will be held at a designated location or in the offices of potential investors. The investor-led generation firm will be asked to deliver on 30 meetings, with potential investors for Caribbean IPAs participating in the Forum.

The event on Sept. 16 will be no more than three hours, with a plenary session of about an hour, and then focused presentations by sector experts and investment promotion agencies on investment climate in the Caribbean and specific presentations on investment opportunities in the targeted sectors and countries.

After the three-hour event, CAIPA said the Diaspora will be invited to meet with the IPAs at designated tables for further discussion.