FREEDOM SPEAKS: Access to export markets – our prosperity depends on it

Kent Vital Political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party

From the end of November 2020, we started discussing the kinds of sustainable development policies and strategies that a DFP government will pursue should we get the nod to govern this country once again.  But we took a break over the last two weeks to bring you messages of hope in the season of good cheer and at the beginning of the year.  Let us now resume our discussion and in this article, we will continue to discuss the necessary conditions that a Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) government will work towards to set Dominica on a path to prosperity and shared growth. In two previous articles we discussed the necessity to create a stable macro-economic environment. We noted that to attract authentic investors to our shores, it will be important to create a stable macro-economic environment and key elements in that regard are, maintaining sound fiscal operations; encouraging the stable and sound operation of the financial sector; and building resilience in the face of economic and environmental vulnerabilities.  We gave some details on these elements.

Foundation efforts to “clean and restore sound fiscal operations – a major plank for achieving a stable macro-economic environment, will be complemented by the pursuit of several other outcomes necessary to drive a thriving economy and build prosperity. One major area is trade with the rest of the world which has been a major basis for pursuing prosperity. But since losing access to European markets for bananas, no other significant export crop has emerged.  Moreover, the export of manufactured goods declined significantly from the heights it was during 1990’s, while tourism services (other than education tourism) never became significant despite government policy agenda to grow the industry.  But even the relative success in education tourism was snuffed by the departure of ROSS university in 2017.   The overall result has been that the country’s traditional pathways to prosperity have not mushroomed but rather have been constricted, nor has the country been able to tap into non-traditional opportunities.  These realities have contributed to extreme poverty, low living standards and high unemployment in the country.

The Dominica Freedom Party is ready to help lead our country out of this malaise largely brought about by corrupt and inept government.  Initially, we will aim to restore significant exports of agricultural commodities and processed goods, while accelerating growth in tourist arrivals and expenditure in line with our areas of natural advantage.   Because Dominica is so far behind other Caribbean countries in the area of tourism, and because the kind of tourism product that the country can develop could be one that is unique and even superior to those of other Caribbean jurisdictions, the potential for gaining tourism market is great if the right product development and promotion policies and strategies are pursued.   But, in an “all-out” effort to expand trade, much focus will also be given to development non-traditional areas of export production including those opportunities that arise from innovation and from leveraging our human capital at home and abroad.

With the right strategies and with leadership of integrity, Dominica can achieve annual export growth of 5% over an extended period. To attain such export growth target, a DFP government will implement several direct strategies that will address the most pressing constraints to export market penetration. These will be complemented by policies for developing the private sector which will be discussed in later articles.  Direct market-penetration strategies will encompass, robust market intelligence operations; effective efforts to encourage and assist entrepreneurs to achieve adequate technical standards for exports; the establishment of an export financing facility; and improved export promotion efforts.  We will speak in more details on each of these strategies in the next article.

Clearly, strategies to expand export goes beyond those directly in relation to the penetration of export markets.  Importantly, at the foundation must be effort at expanding our international competitiveness. This will require us to carefully understand the sources of our advantage, correctly discern changing international taste and trends, and on the basis of such knowledge, fashion the type of products and services that will allow us to gain market share and stay ahead in the industry segments in which we can be most competitive.

But from time to time there will be disruptions in the economy brought about by external shocks. Dominica by its geography is exposed to extreme weather events that can disrupt our ability to export for some period of time. Hence our export strategies must be contemplated to address resilience as much as is possible and our planning system must be very responsive to changing environments and emerging realities or opportunities.   Take for instance, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the tourism industry.   A well-designed reserve fund would have better allowed the country to cope with the impact of the shock and prepare the country to be in a stronger competitive position in terms of the new tourism realities that will emerge.

 

 

 

Kent Vital

Political Leader

Dominica Freedom Party.

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5 Comments

  1. Iyou
    January 14, 2021

    One cannot build a house without stable foundations

    Why did ross university leave..because after decades of talk there still is no airport. at this time of global economics if a country does not have an international airport then the talk is waste. only an airport will encourage trade and bring in the finance to improve the countries infastracture. why are cars still allowed to drive in town. one can it in 20-30min..

    If the ruling classes were really interested in the country..which is actually the people there are practical things which could have been done already which would serve the country which is the people. it would help tourism and export. not import because an airport is needed for that..

  2. Lennon Matthew
    January 13, 2021

    I don’t understand the delusional leadership we have currently running Dominica. A country cannot grow without a strong private sector, manufacturing and export. All the friends of all satellite of non should be about getting markets for our products. We need leadership that knows what it takes.

  3. Ibo France
    January 12, 2021

    Dominica is presently an unenviable place to reside but it doesn’t have to be like this if specific measures are put in place.

    * a transparent government with an astute and insightful leader
    * strict laws against corruption in public service
    *a proper judicial system – swift justice and a non-political police force
    *a booming agriculture sector with thriving agro-processing plants
    * put mechanisms in place to encourage youth entrepreneurship
    * development of technology (locally made Apps, cell phones, e-government etc.)
    * first class infrastructural development – new network of roads and brides, int’l airport, modern cruise facilities, proper communication network, etc)

    Those will suffice for now.

  4. Dominica first
    January 12, 2021

    This is a great article DFP

  5. January 12, 2021

    Dear Friends:
    Dominica can have the most thriving economy in the Caribbean if we are able to
    effectively develop those industries. because no one industry can fully sustain us and
    experience has shown that multiple income streams is what produces wealth.
    # 1 Develop agriculture and locate the markets and get back to manufacturing: because Dominica agricultural produce is the
    best in the world. Develop the tourist industry-(we have a rich eco system that is the envy of the world) we have began to do that- Speed up the
    building of the airport. build up the financial service industry-although the wealthier nations are trying to keep us out but keep at it. Develop the fishing industry on a commercial scale. If we can get these industries to thrive in Dominica; only then can have the strongest economy in the Caribbean; and our people will be wealthy, and prosper, and it can be achieved through Nothing else will do it.
    we have a healthy environments for study, get another medical…

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

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