Caribbean Businesses to benefit from European Funding and Technical Support
The team at Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) now has the added experience and knowledge of an expert with twenty years in international development projects with a focus on technical cooperation. Mr. Robert Glass of the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) recently joined the team as its GTZ Project Manager, responsible for the implementation of the German-funded EPA project in the Caribbean.
The 4 million Euro project includes advice to regional and national Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) implementation units on undertaking measures within the agreement at government level. The project will also assist the private sector, through business support organisations (BSO’s), with the promotion of products from selected sectors.?In a preliminary programming mission undertaken by GTZ in May 2009 and through workshops conducted in October in Barbados and Guyana, a participatory approach was used to design the project and to identify potential partners. Since the EPA is not limited to preferential conditions in the trade of goods, special focus will be on the development of the services sector. The latter has rarely been targeted by regional private sector promotion initiatives in the past and has the potential to develop new market opportunities for local entrepreneurs, within the EPA.
According to Robert Glass, the successful implementation of the EPA will both strengthen the economic ties between the CARIFORUM countries and the EU, as well as improve the enabling environment for business development in general and contribute to regional integration and development of the CSME within the Caribbean. The GTZ activities are being coordinated with two other regional projects of the German government, a 1 million ? project of the German Metrology Institute (PTB) for certification and standardisation of laboratories in the region and another 1 million ? for private sector capacity building and EU market access improvement to be carried out by Capacity Building International Germany (InWEnt).
Mr. Glass, together with four long term experts to be based at other institutions across the region, is expected to be with Caribbean Export for the duration of the project until 2012. Mr. Glass has 20 years of international experience in technical cooperation, which includes 18 years in charge of international development projects, including those of the European Commission (EC), GTZ, German Development Service (DED) and InWEnt. His special skills include: export oriented sector development, training and advice for exporters, marketing, buyer/seller missions and international trade fair participation, promotion of agricultural products, handling, processing, and trade from third world and transition economies, feasibility and market studies, supply chain and quality management.
In welcoming Mr Glass to Caribbean Export, Mr. Philip Williams, Executive Director, Caribbean Export commended GTZ for its new regional initiatives, noting that Caribbean Export was pleased to have been selected by GTZ to partner with it in this important project to assist the region with EPA implementation. Indeed, he was sure that the region would benefit from the presence of Mr Glass, given his considerable international experience in export development.