What are the Opportunities for Investment in our Land?
We used the last eight articles under this column to talk about the importance of investment for creating a more prosperous country and for fostering the economic dignity of our people. We have noted that while attracting foreign investment is an important development strategy for our country, given our limited national income and limited "know-how", investment by our people in their own homeland must be at the centre of our efforts at fostering economic dignity. But towards that end, the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) will champion efforts to develop a strong entrepreneurial mindset among our people. In the last article we explained what such efforts should entail.
I strongly believe that our country can indeed be transformed into one that is prosperous and the DFP will champion efforts for our people to be the focused beneficiaries of development. But a huge question remains - what are the investment opportunities for transforming the economic fortunes of our country?
Let us remind ourselves before going further that a government that lacks integrity and that is corrupt will have little success at transforming our country! What they will do is enrich themselves, steal ideas from those who are innovative, corruptly insert themselves into investment opportunities, frustrate investor's progress when they can't get "kickbacks," give opportunities to themselves and their cabals, and corruptly appropriate state lands and other assets that could be invested in legitimate businesses. They do all of the above at the expense of the ordinary people, but they give a few dollars back to the people to try to keep the ordinary people fooled and thinking that they are for the poor! I tell you, my people - beware of the Roosevelt Skerrit administration. Choose another political party to lead the way to reverse the failure of the last 17 years.
Now let us start our investigation of potential investment opportunities by first considering the broad areas that we believe that our natural environment gives us the opportunity to supply goods and services to the rest of the world. These are often areas in which we do produce, but we are not adequately exploiting export opportunities or areas in which we are not internationally competitive but can become. In future articles we will delve into each of these areas to discuss the details on how to reach our full potential.
One of the broad areas is tourism, and I am sure we can all agree on that. Based on our country's ecology and its natural beauty, the nation can build a tourism industry that is world class and world renowned! Different from what many other Caribbean Islands have on offer, Dominica has something special that it can offer to the world. With that, we can build a tourism industry that could be the best in the Caribbean and that could indeed be a global treasure!
Discerning travelers will pay much for Dominica's kind of product if it is developed wisely. There are opportunities to develop high-end eco-tourism, community tourism and agriculture tourism. There is potential to take advantage of the national hiking trail, to promote luxury maintain living, camping and glamping, to offer charming opportunities for river swimming and to offer to visitors the country's special black sand and golden-brown sandy beaches.
Exploiting that potential fully will require a government that will set an ambitious vision and that would be adept at economic management. This will require, among others, efforts by government to ensure adequate air access to the country, efforts to improve the aesthetic of the built-up areas to match the natural beauty of the country including effort to keep the country clean and tidy, efforts to adequately promote the destination and efforts to secure foreign direct investment in the sector.
There is great need for a government that is capable and that can be trusted to facilitate private sector efforts to exploit the tourism potential of the country. If the government does its part well, foreign investors will respond. But our people must be facilitated to invest in the industry as well and in the last few articles we discussed the strategies the DFP would champion in that at encouraging our people to invest. Our people must be guided to take advantage of investment opportunities through strategies to help them develop their business ideas, access financing including venture capital, and cooperate in a variety of areas that could include marketing, booking, staff training.
Next week we will delve into the second broad area to which our natural environment lends itself – agri-business. We will also look at geothermal and renewable energy among other broad areas. In other articles, we will continue with other questions as we investigate potential areas for investment in Dominica beyond the areas that our natural environment lends itself to. Don't miss the discussion. The DFP knows that as a people we can do better. We don't have to settle to be poor and dependent.
Kent Vital Political Leader Dominica Freedom Party.