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Announcement of CIF2024
On the inaugural day, leaders and financial institutions convened to explore the theme of "Sustainable Financing for the Caribbean." Their discussions charted the course for sustainable investments geared towards igniting growth and bolstering resilience in the region.
Paul Ahlstrom of AltaVentures delved into the world of artificial intelligence (AI), education innovation, and the potential of AI to drive development in the Caribbean. His insights shed light on the opportunities that lie ahead for the region and the value of leveraging AI for regional development.
There is so much in store! Do not miss out on CIF’s powerhouse keynote addresses, engaging panel discussions, intimate fire-side chats, productive opportunity centers, and vibrant business mixers with a global network of thought leaders.
Mr. Aaron Bielenberg from the Boston Consulting Group emphasized the transition to renewable energy and its three pillars: phasing out fossil fuels, attracting capital for renewables, and enhancing clean energy offerings. He discussed the urgency of climate change, economic development, and the challenges in energy transition, highlighting the role of technology and AI.
Sergio Bandinelli of Tecnalia Ventures emphasized the holistic nature of digital transformation, innovation, and adaptability. He provided examples of missed opportunities and the need for companies tobe "ambidextrous," balancing efficiency and innovation. Managing innovation portfolios and the concept of open innovation were discussed, with the EU-LAC Digital Accelerator promoting cross-continental partnerships for digital transformation.
One of the significant announcements on day one of CIF was the renewal of the partnership between Caribbean Export and Republic Bank, symbolized by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Together, Caribbean Export and Republic Bank are on a mission to enhance competitiveness and export readiness, bolstering the Caribbean's position in the global market.
The Investment Villages featured a wide array of investment opportunities from across the Caribbean, encompassing agribusiness, renewable energy, technology, and sustainable finance. Project owners presented their viable initiatives to a diverse audience of regional and international investors, showcasing their potential for fostering sustainable development whilst offering a glimpse into the myriad investment possibilities and collaborative endeavors shaping the economic future of the Caribbean.
The winner of the highly anticipated Draper Start-Up House CARICOM Pitch Competition was announced as Saint Lucian, Mr. Keeghan Patrick of Orbtronics. The winning pitch was for the project “Rifbid”, an AI powered platform that connects suppliers to RFPs, RFQs, RFIs and contracts through collaboration and automation.
Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper highlighted the use of AI and deep learning for client understanding and emphasized the role of Innovation Forward in enhancing the Bahamian economy. Hon. Oneidge Walrond discussed investments in fiber optic infrastructure to boost ICT sector growth and digital government services. Hon. Pavel Isa Contreras outlined progress toward 25% renewable energy production and government incentives for renewable energy.
Nicholas Rees stressed the importance of innovation, adaptation, and collaboration between businesses and governments. Gillian Charles-Gollop highlighted sustainability's significance and its long-term benefits for businesses. Ronald Ramjattan shed light on the untapped potential in agriculture and the role of entrepreneurship and innovation in Caribbean economic development. Andrew Mendes emphasized the need for diversification and investment in skills development. Moderator Diane Edwards underlined the importance of vision, determination, and the private sector's role in shaping the Caribbean's future.
Doug Cowper emphasized the importance of embracing technology in the Caribbean to simplify documentation requirements, citing the Bahamian government's $12 million investment in a digital platform to streamline data exchange. Bill Peterson advocated for early technology adoption in the maritime logistics market, highlighting the need for disruptive innovation, showcasing the Flying Ship. Hannah Swift addressed regional travel challenges, mentioning Virgin Atlantic's successful launch of regional flights. Darwin Telemaque stressed the need for technological advancements in Caribbean ports and the potential for cost reduction through efficient technology adoption, considering it a game changer.
Dr. Brathwaite's fireside chat highlighted key insights, including the Caribbean's untapped global potential, the importance of job creation and entrepreneurial activity, and the elements for unicorn business success. Regional collaboration, investment in technology and education, and forward-thinking government policies were stressed. Dr. Brathwaite's willingness to assist governments in the region underscores his commitment to fostering innovation and economic growth. The session encouraged ambitious goals, private sector involvement, and a multi-faceted approach to innovation and investment in the Caribbean, encompassing various industries.
In an exciting culmination to a successful event, CIF wrapped up with a major announcement that The Cooperative Republic of Guyana is set to host the 2024 Caribbean Investment Forum. The CIF2023 host, The Bahamas, received heartfelt thanks for its incredible hospitality and invaluable contribution to the success of this year's event.