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Nov 25, 2016

The Art and Science of Successful Investment

It takes two to three years for a viable project to evolve, from start to fruition…but any mega project, if financial backative is unavailable locally, needs foreign direct investments. This in most instances allows for both public and private sector entities to thrive because of the foreign exchange benefits to a government. The implementation of new business ideas and projects also translates into more job opportunities. Today, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service launched a Belize Investment Portfolio, which will pool great business plans and package them in a way that it will attract foreign investors. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today at the Radisson, Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) launched its most recent campaign to foster foreign direct investments to Belize. Belize Investment Portfolio is a national initiative to provide a successful match for entrepreneurs, as well as government agencies—and their projects—with potential foreign investors. As it currently stands, Belize ranked fourth in terms of foreign direct investment flows into the country and the goal is to improve on those figures.

 

Melanie Gideon

Melanie Gideon, General Manager, BELTRIADE

“We’ve done many initiatives each building on the other, so this is the building on the other. Like I mentioned, redesigning the unit, putting targets. This campaign launch represents how we better work with private sector and other government entities to be able to make sure we bring in the right kind of investments in the priority areas and there are six priority areas. So what makes this…this is a symbol of collaboration—both intergovernmental and public and private. So this is a hallmark for us; this is a milestone and a key initiative where it has been formalized how best as a country, we can bring in the right kind of investments into the country.”

 

The global economy, according to Minister Tracy Panton, is sluggish and the advent of loss of correspondent banking relationships affects the ability to attract foreign direct investments.  This initiative, which will bring together a list of thriving investment projects, will focus on six priority areas.

 

Tracy Panton

Tracy Panton, Minister of State, Economic Development, Investment, Trade & Commerce

“The landscape or the environment is becoming far more competitive in terms of attracting investment dollars to the region and obviously to Belize. So, we felt it was important to develop a national portfolio of projects that are coming either rout of the private sector or the public sector that we can use to pitch to new investors and to try and stimulate new foreign direct investments in the country and also to support foreign domestic investments.”

 

Melanie Gideon

“What we have seen as a consistent success…once our partners see the value, they get more buy-in. So, we might go at that pace with the intention that we are positively influencing them so that they can move from that neutral spot to even if it is first gear…it is forward. So, our benchmark is some will move slowly progressively, some will move moderately progressively, some will be next to us. We pick our battles, we go with it and we hope that they will eventually pick up momentum.”

 

According to BELTRAIDE’s General Manager, Melanie Gideon and Minister of State Tracy Panton, the ultimate goal is to create new job opportunities for Belizeans. The various development programs in place were a first step to prepare the country for this eventuality.

 

Tracy Panton

“The ultimate goal is for the creation of new job opportunities; it’s to get more people working in industries so that Belize can remain competitive. Certainly, tourism is one of those industries; certainly, business processing outsourcing is a growing sector for us; agriculture, in terms of trade with CARICOM and other Central American countries. And so, it is really to create opportunities for Belizeans. The reason we attract foreign investment is to create those opportunities on the ground.”

 

Melanie Gideon

“BELTRAIDE has always been very conscious of brining in the right investment when it comes to is it going to have the right amount of foreign exchange generation, is it going to have the right kind of employment—it is anywhere from entry level to skilled level to semi-skilled; is it going to be scattered around the country appropriately. This campaign is about that. This is a first phase. Second phase is how we take all this information and, for the lack of a better word, a geographic information system when it comes to investment. How do we map out the country when it comes to investment? Corozal; what are the investment projects there? Do we have the right mix? Do we have to do something different? Do we need to finetune? Because, again, I’ve talked about foreign exchange and employment…now how do I diversify and strengthen the country? All these initiatives have built on the success of another. So, come next year, phase two will be coming into play.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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