Business

IDB eyes int’l private sector investment in Family Islands

The Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Country Representative Daniela Carrera Marquis said the group is looking at ways to trigger international private sector investment in the Family Islands through something called a Family Islands investment fund, according to a statement on a meeting between Marquis and Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Clay Sweeting.

She said the IDB wants to see the development of agribusinesses in the Family Islands that can become commercially viable.

“We’ve been looking into SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) that can be transformative in the area of agribusiness, not just in New Providence but in the rest of the Family Islands,” she said.

“We have several projects that are related to agribusiness already. We have a project that is in Grand Bahama and it’s about managing the sustainability of conch with the local communities.

“That project is being implemented through the Bahamas National Trust and it was very much affected by both Dorian and COVID-19. We have extended it.” 

Marquis said the IDB is also looking into expanding fisheries in The Bahamas, explained that it is analyzing and refining its fisheries plan and will soon present it to the new government.

“We were looking at the legal framework and potential land development based on what is out there,” said Marquis.

“We just thought of fisheries because The Bahamas is based on the coasts and has a very small fisheries industry compared to other countries that have the same mass.”

Sweeting contended that the investment in fishing is something the country must capitalize on, explaining that it has been an “astronomical year” for Bahamian fisheries.

“There are other markets such as stone crab and other sources of fish that we can possibly export as well as sell domestically,” Sweeting said.

“I think that we just don’t have the push to get us over the edge, so we are looking to do that within the ministry and the Department of Marine Resources.

“I am hoping that within the first quarter we can put something together, whether it’s investment opportunities, research or development, to see what the possible scenarios are where the IDB can facilitate some of our goals at the ministry.”

 Marquis added that the IDB continues to be interested in creating microgrids in some of the Family Islands in order for them to “have more energy or access to cleaner energy, but also to provide the data”.

“In the Family Islands there is a challenge with electricity. Renewable energy is something we really need to look into, especially with clean energy, not just with the IDB but with the Ministry of the Environment that would have to facilitate renewable energy sources in the Family Islands.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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