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Sustainable economic development supported by Statian & Saban stakeholders

TUESDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2014

ST. EUSTATIUS– At the close of the two-day Strategic Conference held at the CNSI office located on L.E. Saddlerweg in St. Eustatius, an agreement was signed and witnessed by all the participants.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for St. Eustatius and Saba, the Executive Councils of Saba and St. Eustatius, Saba Business Association (SBA), St Eustatius Business Association (STE- BA) and Saba Merchants Association (SBA).

In the MOU, the parties shared their objective of stimulating the sustainable economic development of the islands in general and the local private sector in particular, with the emphasis on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Sector (MSMES). As MSMES needs to increase its competitiveness, making the sector resilient to regional and international socio-economic challenges, reducing entrepreneurial risks and encouraging investments in Statia and Saba, all parties agreed to intensify (and structure) their cooperation.

Parties will implement the cooperation by structuring the promotion of trade and investment as a joint coordinated activity of public and private stakeholders, by sourcing knowledge and skills in and outside Statia and Saba to come to the correct model for trade and investment promotion, and by designing a service portfolio in the field of trade and investment promotion.

For specific projects and activities under the umbrella agreement, separate executive agreements will be concluded. These will determine the responsible persons, financial resources and other details. The actual approval of projects or activities will be dependent on the availability of guaranteed funds. All parties are committed to obtain these funds. The progress of each project or activity will be evaluated at least twice a year.

During the final stages of the conference, the new Dutch Kingdom Representative Gilbert Isabella was also in attendance. The meetings were well attended, with participants contributing their skills and knowledge in anticipation of an upswing of the economy. The various facilitators/experts Dick de Man, Hans Verhulst and Lara Frank of CBI, Jenna Wijngaarde (Capricon Project) and Jaap Rutger Kos (KPMG Meijburg Caribbean) shared the objectives of the programme as put together by CBI to improve the economic situation on the islands. The conference was a joint public/private effort of Saba, Statia and Bonaire along with CBI.

Many individuals who attended said to be impressed and felt they had benefitted from being at the conference. President of the Chamber of Commerce of Saba and Statia, Koos Sneek, thanked all for their attendance. He described the conference as “historic” as all those present strived together for a stronger economy for the three islands.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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