WASHINGTON D.C., United States, Saturday November 29, 2014, CMC – The World Bank says the Kenny Anthony administration is reporting “concrete advances” in investment climate, connectivity and productivity.
The Washington-based financial institution said that the St. Lucia government, the private sector, civil society, youth and academia have “concluded that the country has made significant progress in meeting its commitments” made at the start of the second accountability workshop of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) held here.
The World Bank said the St. Lucian Growth Forum (GF) chapter is coordinated by the Department of Planning & National Development of the Ministry of Finance, and comprises representatives of the Government and private sector in collaboration with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Compete Caribbean and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
“Over the last decade, St. Lucia has grabbled with the challenge of reshaping its economy; growth has been slow and unemployment, particularly among the youth, high.
“The CGF has provided a forum to assist the government in implementing reforms needed for the country to become more competitive and innovative,” The World Bank said.
The Washington-based financial institution said the discussion underscored enhanced Internet, information communications technology (ICT)-related services and infrastructure, fiscal incentives for improved business climate, and boost in productivity.
It said the St. Lucia Ministry of the Public Service has established Wi Fi hot spots at key locations throughout the island, that a community access center is now “accessible and available” to residents in the town of Soufriere, and construction of two new ICT access centres has commenced in Micoud North and Vieux-Fort South.
“St. Lucia will be the recipient of a Government Island Network Project destined to create Wi Fi hotspots island-wide,” the World Bank said, adding “Wi Fi hot spots will also be created at libraries throughout the island to increase access to communities and schools”.
In assess fiscal incentives for improved business climate, the bank said the St. Lucia Department of Finance has commenced work to enhance the effectiveness of the current incentives regime and improve transparency of incentives.
“This project is expected to provide additional support to private sector development by re-focusing the incentives regime on specific development objectives,” it said.
Through the National Productivity Council, the World Bank noted that the St. Lucia Government completed the first “productivity assessment,” an innovative approach that includes teaching youth and providing tools to increase on productivity in the workplace.
It also said that the Economic Planning Unit within the St. Lucia Department of Planning & National Development is facilitating continued dialogue and implementation of CGF activities.
The CGF’s St. Lucia Chapter was formally launched in January 2013 under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning and Social Security.
The World Bank said the CGF provides a “platform for private sector and civil society to give feedback on national and regional reforms and help track the implementation of actions needed to spur sustainable growth and opportunities for all in the Caribbean”.