Regional collaboration is vital for the continued recovery of the region and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean has recently formalised a partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) which will support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the tourism sector to recover and build forward faster from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fragile regional industry.

The support is in the form of capacity-building assistance in digitization comprising of open training, mentorship, one-to-one technical assistance and training of trainers. This is in line with the UNDP Future Tourism Project which began earlier this year and has seen 187 delegates fully complete the first round of training.

“As we continue the process of retooling MSMEs, digitization becomes a necessary next step in a more contactless world,” Valerie Cliff, Resident Representative UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean noted. “We need to leverage the various resources of the region and work together to build forward better as we rethink the way businesses operate in the Caribbean. For lasting change, regional collaboration is key.” She added, highlighting the importance of regional development agencies to collaborate on projects for the region’s collective good.

“The FUTURE-Tourism project was developed out of a need to adapt to the new post-COVID-19 environment and to build more resilient economic sectors. With our agreement with CDB, the project will enhance the region’s collective digital marketplace which will, in turn, build resilience for smaller operators who were directly impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, curfews and reduced capacities of establishments."

Also speaking on the collaboration, Lisa Harding, Coordinator, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development at CDB, stated, “CDB is delighted to collaborate with UNDP on this timely and important project which is aligned with the Bank’s continued efforts to pursue interventions aimed at strengthening the operational and technical capacity of MSMEs through digitization. The support to tourism related MSMEs is critical at this time, as they endeavour to implement new or adapt existing operational systems to sustain operations and enhance competitiveness within the current challenging technological business environment.”

The Future Tourism project aims to help governments identify and implement tourism revitalisation strategies as well as provide technical and financial support to MSMEs. Additionally, the project seeks to contribute to hastening economic recovery and the sustainable development of the region’s tourism sector by financially supporting the digitally enabled transformation of the business processes and value chains of MSMEs. With UNDP’s partnership with CDB, phase three of the project will allocate USD700,000 to 150 MSME beneficiaries providing the necessary support needed for them to become fully operational in a virtual marketplace.

At this time when exogenous threats like COVID-19 and natural disasters are impacting the region, it is vital that developmental efforts are continued to reinforce the need for regional resilience and building forward better. Leveraging partnerships is part of the work of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in its commitment to promoting economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the "Blue Economy for Green Islands" vision. As the Caribbean continues to seek solutions to support traditionally vulnerable groups, UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region and building resilient communities that can withstand shocks and crises through targeted projects and programmes. 

 

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UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at www.bb.undp.org or follow at @UNDPBarbados

The Caribbean Development Bank is a regional financial institution established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). In addition to the 19 BMCs, CDB’s membership includes four regional non-borrowing members – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela and five non-regional, non-borrowing members; i.e., Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. CDB’s total assets as at December 31, 2019 stood at US$ 3.59 billion (bn). These include US$2.1 bn of Ordinary Capital Resources and US$1.49 bn of Special Funds Resources. The Bank is rated Aa1 Stable with Moody’s, AA+ Stable with Standard & Poor’s and AA+ Stable with FitchRatings. Read more at caribank.org.

 

 

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