Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2017 Contents BG18 | COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt JANUARY 26 • 2017
Game changing export
In the current economic downturn in T&T, businesses
are faced with the challenge of what is being touted
to be a "new normal"
As T&T weans itself away from its almost singular
dependence on hydrocarbons, local businesses are
being challenged to explore new avenues to increase
export earning capacity. The T&T Chamber is also seeking
new ways to help member companies proactively seek out the
greatest benefits of existing markets or search for opportu-
nities in new markets.
In one such initiative, the T&T Chamber will collaborate
with the CAF---the Development Bank of Latin America---to
host a limited series of business to business (B2B) meetings
with pre-selected members of the private sector.
The two-day event will be held over February 7-8, 2017, and
will seek to identify investment opportunities for firms that
have and/or demonstrate export potential.
CAF is a development bank which offers attractive and com-
petitively priced lines of credit, loans, investment funds, guar-
antees, financial advisory and investment banking services,
treasury services, technical assistance, strategic programmes
and services. With headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, it op-
erates in 13 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The bank promotes integration and a sustainable devel-
opment model in Latin America and the Caribbean through
credit operations, non-reimbursable resources and support
in the technical and financial structuring of public and private
sector projects in Latin America. CAF's first country office in
the Caribbean has been based in Port-of-Spain since 2013.
The CAF has extensive experience, both in Latin America
and the Caribbean, working with national and sub-national
governments, public, private and mixed companies, financial
intermediaries and SMEs.
In 2016, T&T completed the conditions to become a full
member of CAF. The country also voted in the election of the
new Executive President for the period 2017-2022 and par-
ticipated for the first time in the CLVII Meeting of the Board
All of CAF's 19 member countries are also borrowers. Over
the last three years, it has approved an annual average of US$12
billion in development financing. Similar amounts are approved
for other large multinational institutions across the region.
T&T successfully accessed its first loan of a US $300 million
operation to consolidate fiscal accounts. The loan was under-
taken with a specific goal of seeking to make public spending
more efficient and essentially to diversify the economy.
CAF has worked with this country to identify programmes
and projects with a high impact potential for its development
and has been supporting efforts to strengthen the private sector
along with improving its competitiveness globally. T&T has
already benefited from the approval of technical assistance to
boost competitiveness and economic diversification.
With a loan portfolio in excess of US$20 billion and assets
estimated at US$32 billion, approximately 20 per cent of CAF's
portfolio is dedicated to the private sector. Its strategy for the
private sector stems from the concept of productive transfor-
mation to promote skilled employment and the economies of
higher added value in the region.
To achieve this, CAF focuses on improving productivity
through intervention in four strategic axes: transport infra-
structure, energy stability, financial sector
development and agribusiness.
All the axes are taken care of in an inte-
gral way, by reducing the market failures
in regulatory, industrial and business level
operations and by focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship
and the articulation of value chains.
Through CAF, the productive and financial private sector
companies have access to longer financing terms based on the
support of a multilateral institution, and adjustment to their
needs through lending terms (short/medium and long term
simultaneously), as well as flexibility and agility.
During the last quarter of 2016, the T&T Chamber undertook
several meetings with the CAF to explore possible financing
opportunities for local businesses in specific sectors. This
timely collaboration is highly valuable since CAF offers a suite
of attractive development financial products and solutions
in United States dollars, and qualifying companies will have
access to financing at competitive rates.
As is already done in several countries in the region, the
CAF's goal is to assist T&T's private sector in the financing
of market research, the incorporation of best practices (inter-
vention at the industry and business levels), the provision of
direct credit facilities for the financing of trade through the
banking system at (company level), and serving as the first
point of contact with the branch network.
The partnership with the CAF assists businesses that do not
have the requisite capital to expand their operations, in par-
ticular, increasing the offer of foreign exchange to the market.
CAF has identified special interest in firms that have export
potential and fall within the sectors of agribusiness, man-
ufacturing, productive service exporters, energy, financial
services and ICT.
The mission of the T&T Chamber is to be "the champion of
business towards a strong and sustainable national economy"
and we anticipate that the collaboration with CAF, a bank that
believes in "more opportunities, a better future", is a window
of opportunity for our business sector.
If you would like to find out more, visit CAF's website www.caf.com.
A Chamber initiative with CAF:
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