Source: Barbados Today, 13th July, 2022.
Photo: H. E. Ambassador Dr. Andre Thomas, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman of Upturn Funds Caribbean
Barbados and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states could attract major investment of more than US$5 billion (BDS$10 billion) across a range of sectors in the coming years, if the plans of venture capital firm Upturn Funds Caribbean (UFC) are successful.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of UFC Ambassador Dr Andre Thomas told a news conference on Tuesday that discussions were still ongoing with government officials in the region as several potential investors line up to explore investment options for various projects in the Caribbean.
“They are excited. We have sold them on our vision for the region and we have sold them on the fact that they can, with us, make a difference in the region. They are very eager to come into the region. Many of them have never invested in the region before, so this will be the first time for them,” said Thomas.
While he was hesitant to say which government departments he had engaged, Dr Thomas indicated that he was in talks with government officials in Barbados regarding specific projects.
He explained that the amount of investment for each country would vary depending on demand. UFC, which is an amalgamation of Upturn Funds and Caribbean Investment Finance, is expected to provide about US$1 billion for identified projects and the private investors are expected to provide the rest.
Thomas announced on Tuesday that UFC will be hosting its inaugural investment summit in Bridgetown between August 25 to 27. At that time the potential investors, local and regional private sector operators and government officials will receive details on how the venture would work.
The major summit, which is expected to attract investors from the US, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, Brazil, Europe and the Middle East, will focus on attracting investment opportunities in the areas of maritime transport, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure development, renewable energy, mining and real estate.
“We have decided, as we launch within the region, to really launch by having this event, and this event will bring in excess of US$5 billion in possible investment to the region,” Thomas announced.
He said he believed the Caribbean was at a stage of its development that it was seeking “economic dignity”.
“That’s where the people of the region have developed the mentality and developed the skills to mine the resources in their land, in their sea and in their people, for the equitable prosperity of that particular location. We are convinced that right now in terms of evolution and growth the Caribbean is at that stage. And we believe that as a firm, we can make a significant contribution to that,” said Thomas.
He gave the assurance that any projects done in the region will benefit local businesses and communities, while helping countries to achieve aspects of their UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“Everything that we do is geared to create jobs. The ethos of our company is to create socioeconomic development through strategic investment. So it is very important for us to create jobs in the way we invest,” said Thomas.
“We want to work with a model that creates and helps the money circulate within the economy. So job creation is one of our values,” he said.
Source: Barbados Today