Tony Blair calls major conference on Caribbean Investment in London

On November 2, 2006 the British Government will host a conference on the new Caribbean economy.

The event entitled ‘Transforming the Caribbean economy - new avenues for investment’ will take place at Lancaster House in London. It will explore how within two decades the Caribbean economy is likely to change dramatically as preference ends and the region comes to be dominated by the services sector, tourism and allied industries, manufacturing and a new and better integrated agricultural economy.

The conference will aim to encourage a revolution in thinking about the region’s future investment and the role and interrelationship between the public and private sectors.

The one-day invitation-only conference which is being organized by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the support of the Caribbean Council is aimed at the international investment community. It takes place at the initiative of the British Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, who together with the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt Hon Owen Arthur MP, intend being present at the conference.

The conference will:

 Provide a vision of the new Caribbean economy
 Establish the ways in which the Caribbean can make itself more attractive to investment using expertise from both the public and private sectors
 Identify sources of finance for investment
 Consider in working sessions the opportunities for investment
 Consider opportunities for public private partnerships; and
 Enable Caribbean Governments and industries to showcase new investment opportunities in which multilateral support might be used alongside private equity

The event is structured in a manner that will enable all participants to fully debate issues. Speakers will be limited to presentations of no more than ten minutes in order to enable the session’s participants to debate the issues under consideration involving all participants.

In the afternoon the conference will divide in to three parallel sessions, looking in detail at the specific opportunities that exist in the Caribbean in services, agriculture and tourism.

A further panel led interactive session at the end of the conference will pick up on issues raised during the day and agree on future action before a closing plenary looks at where the region might be in twenty years time.

The conference will be chaired by Lord Triesman, the British Minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office responsible for relations with the Caribbean. Other British Ministers will also participate. Over thirty high level public and private sector speakers from the Caribbean, the UK, Continental Europe, Brazil and elsewhere will participate in the event.

Among those due to address the conference are the Rt Hon Tony Blair; the Rt Hon Owen Arthur, the Prime Minister of Barbados; the President of Guyana, the Hon Bharrat Jagdeo, plus leading members of the financial community in London and the Caribbean, including the Chairman of Sagicor, Mr Arthur Bethell. Other Caribbean government leaders including the Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon Said Musa will be present along with key figures from the Caribbean private Sector.

The conference, which is by invitation only, is aimed at senior decision-makers in the international business community and the wide range of intermediaries who inform investment decisions. Numbers of those participating in the plenary sessions are limited to 200 with invitations extended to a small number of additional participants to attend the working sessions.

The conference which is being facilitated by the British Government, is being delivered by the Caribbean Council working with the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce, the Caribbean Hotel Association and other public and private sector organisations from the Caribbean Region. Cable & Wireless International is the principal business partner for this conference.