Cosme launches economic diversification study

For Caribbean OCTs

TORTOLA – The EU funded Competitive of Small and Medium Enterprises (Cosme) program, launched a regional study on diversification of the Caribbean Overseas countries and Territories (OCTs) last November. The purpose of the study is to determine the extent to which the economies of the Caribbean OCTS need diversification and provide concrete recommendations to do so. Consultants are A-to-Z Consultants, with key experts Dr. Noel Watson and Tamira La Cruz, MBA.

 The objective of Cosme is to improve the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in the British, Dutch and French OCTs by facilitating an enhanced business enabling environment through appropriate policies, support to business support organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the SHTA and small and medium enterprises and efforts to increase collaboration and trade between the OCTs, with the rest of the Caribbean and with Europe.

The beneficiary countries include Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St. Barth’s and Turks & Caicos Islands.

 ‘Diversification is important because of the vulnerability of small economies. In addition the findings of the study will be an input for policy formulation, which is an objective of the program’, says Diana Hendrickson-Fleming, team leader and key expert 1 of the GOPA consulting team attached to the Cosme program management unit in the British Virgin Islands. 

Both consultants Dr. Watson and Ms. La Cruz are from the region and have extensive experience with regional economic development in CARICOM, Cariforum and the OCTs. They will consult with stakeholders in all OCTs, benchmark the performance of the countries based on hard data, provide recommendations and develop a system for the structured sharing of best practices of small states in general and the OCTs in particular. The OCTs are often not included in global benchmarking studies, so this will be relatively new.

The consultants will assist in particular those smaller OCTs which do not have the resources to study and develop their own diversification and other economic development strategies.  Focus of the recommendations will be on opportunities for small and medium enterprises, defined to be companies with up to 50 employees or annual revenues up to $3 million.

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