Bahamas Positioning to Become More Competitive, the Americas told

Ambassador Joshua Sears, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Nassau, The Bahamas – The Bahamas is positioning itself to become a more competitive and attractive tourist and investment destination, Ambassador Joshua Sears, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Americas Competitiveness Forum 2010 held recently in Atlanta, Georgia.

One of the components the ACF is the Regional Market Opportunities panels (RMO); as a panelist Ambassador Sears discussed national projects and competitiveness priorities over the next five years in terms of infrastructure, innovation, education and other sectors of strategic economic opportunities, as well as the best prospects and market opportunities.

The Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) is the Western Hemisphere’s preeminent event for government and business leaders to discuss innovative methods to achieve economic competitiveness and promote innovation in the Americas.

At the ACF held November 14 – 16, 2010, more than 1,000 participants had the opportunity to contribute and learn how to improve the way business is done in the Americas.

The Bahamas is listed at 64, in the annual competitiveness ranking of the world’s leading financial centre. Its financial services sector is the second largest pillar of the economy, contributing in excess of 20 percent of the country’s’ Gross Domestic Product.

Ambassador Sears listed a number of initiatives The Bahamas is undertaking to set itself up as a competitive and attractive place for doing business, and for economic growth and development.

The Bahamas is seeking membership in the World Trade Organisation, which will result in major reforms in foreign trade, internal trade, intellectual property, trademarks, copyright and industrial property, government procurement and investment.

The government is seeking to introduce laws that will significantly enhance The Bahamas’ competitiveness in the above-mentioned areas,” Ambassador Sears said.

“The Bahamas is an open economy and we fully expect the Bahamian market for foreign goods and services to grow from current levels in line with the overall continuing growth and development of the Bahamian economy,” he said.

The government has also embarked upon a major infrastructural development programme, which when completed will improve access to services and significantly improve the overall development and competitiveness of the Bahamian economy, the ambassador said.

Other projects on tap are the implementation of an E-government system – allowing access to business license online; the Nassau Harbour Development Project and Port Relocation, the City of Nassau Revitalisation Project to include the rebuilding of the straw market; the redevelopment of the Lynden Pindling International Airport; and the New Providence Road Improvement Project and Infrastructure.

Ambassador Sears also told the forum that plans are underway for Abaco, the third largest economy in The Bahamas with a $19.2 million government administrative office. This island will also get a new electrical power plant to meet the energy needs of that fast-growing community.

In the private sector area – the Bahamas Oil Refinery Company is up for expansion, Vopak-Grand Bahama to undertake a $300 million expansion project.

And in New Providence, the Baha Mar Cable Beach redevelopment project – a proposed $2.6 billion venture encompassing the construction of 2,200 new rooms, casinos and golf course, Ambassador Sears said.