Improved Investment Climate, Infrastructure and Skills Top National Action Plan to Foster Growth, Jobs and Opportunities for All
SANTO DOMINGO.– Economic growth that translates into poverty reduction and a stronger middle class in the Dominican Republic was at the center of a series of concrete actions presented Tuesday in a high-level national ceremony hosted by the country at the Presidential Palace. The presentation is part of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF), a two-year regional platform for dialogue to foster higher levels of economic growth with opportunities for all in the Caribbean.
The CGF is a partnership between the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Compete Caribbean, with support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The CGF builds on existing partnerships and involves stakeholders from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society, as well as the Caribbean Diaspora.
Referring to Dominican Republic's challenges in particular, Temístocles Montás, Minister of Economy and Planning, said: “the Dominican Government has taken on the improvement of national competitiveness and it is precisely in this framework that the CGF is being developed in the Dominican Republic.”
The CGF complements the Government's National Development Strategy - Vision 2030, which seeks to ensure the sustainability of ongoing electricity reforms, the achievement of quality education, and transparency in public expenditure. The Dominican Republic for the last decade has been one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Consequently, the CGF aimed at an action plan to foster inclusive growth, poverty and inequality reduction by means of implementing practical and well-identified policies and activities.
In this context, World Bank Country Representative in the Dominican Republic, McDonald Benjamin, suggested that: "The challenge for the Dominican Republic is to ensure that the country’s economic model allows shared prosperity and growth that benefits the poor. This forum is a clear effort that can bring policy reforms to allow broader opportunities for all.”
The CGF action plan presented today includes concrete actions to strengthen the investment climate, improve logistics and connectivity, and upgrade education and develop skills that improve competitiveness and generate higher-paying jobs.
According to the plan, the investment climate could benefit from widening access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises, making it easier to start and operate a business, and strengthening laws to protect investments.
In terms of logistics and connectivity, key actions recommended include facilitating trade conditions at the DR-Haiti Border points, making key infrastructure services more affordable and efficient for exports, imports and tourism, and generating a greater transport and cultural link with the rest of the Caribbean.
When it comes to developing skills to improving competitiveness and productivity, key actions include upgrading education to better match skills with jobs, scaling innovation and technology, creating seed capital to support strategic projects, and fostering a greater interaction between enterprises to raise levels of competition.
About 100 participants from the public and private sectors, youth, academia, trade unions, media and civil society joined the action plan announcement ceremony in the Dominican Republic.
“This CGF phase gives us concrete steps because now there is a human face responsible for every action and every recommendation. The plan has a calendar and identifies the financial source from donors when needed. In addition, civil society will be able to closely monitor the completion of activities,” said Andrea Gallina, CGF Coordinator, World Bank.
Today’s launch ceremony in Santo Domingo included remarks by Temístocles Montás, Minister of Economy and Planning; McDonald Benjamin, World Bank Country Representative in the Dominican Republic; and Jorge Requena, Acting Country Representative for the Inter-American Development Bank. Also present were Rolando Guzman, President of INTEC University and CGF’s Advisory Board Member; and Andres Van Der Horst, Secretary of State, Founder and Executive Director of the National Competitiveness Council of the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic is the first country to launch its CGF action plan. Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Dominica, Jamaica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname, will also launch their action plans in the coming weeks. A regional forum will take place in Nassau, Bahamas on June 24-25 for each individual CGF Chapter to compare notes and find shared solutions.
Up to now over 2,000 people have attended the CGF dialogues and over 100 meetings have been organized by the various chapters in the region. Interested citizens have a continuous opportunity to learn more about and engage in the CGF via the social media channels.