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Craigg: Improvement in FDI in 2011

Foreign direct investment(FDI)is expected to surpass the total in 2010, according to the governor of the Cental Bank, who says investor confidence is still at a fairly high level.

Wendy Craigg toldGuardian Businessyesterday that she is optimistic FDI levels will increase year-over-year, and there are indications that it will continue to grow going forward.

“The situation is improving,”Craigg said.”It will certainly be up from last year because the Baha Mar project alone is extremely large. Generally the atmosphere of the whole environment of foreign investment is improving and foreign investment is directly related to the economic climate, and the investor has to feel confident, and at the end of the day the investor is looking for returns on his investment and is looking to make a good investment.

“What we are seeing today will certainly be better than it was last year and it’s encouraging.”

Craigg was a keynote speaker at the 19th annual World Conference of Banking Institutes seminar, held at the Atlantis Resort on Monday. She spoke on the topic”Trust and Accountability: A Regulatory Perspective”. The event was hosted by the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services.

FDI levels were low in 2009 compared to previous years, where that number stood at$654 million, a 22 percent year-on-year drop. That 2009 number–calculated by the Bahamian government and reported by the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean(ECLAC)last July–is the lowest net FDI this nation has recorded since 2005’s$563 million. The drop translates into an investment decrease of$185 million when compared to 2008’s$839 million.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said last December that FDI spending has been identified for the next four years and domestic investment spending for the next three years, as a result of a number of projects. The most notable one to date is the$3.6 billion Baha Mar project, which is expected to create a domino effect that will contribute to economic growth.

Craigg said FDI from Baha Mar will position The Bahamas ahead of other countries in the region in 2011, based on the details of the mega-resort development.

“I’m not certain of what[other Caribbean countries]levels are but I think looking at what we know with the Baha Mar project, that alone–a single large investment project–that will certainly propel us ahead of the others,”she said.”We are on the right track for growth in this area.”

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