Earlier this year the Government of Saint Lucia through the Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) secured assistance from Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) to prepare a new National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) for Saint Lucia. Geared at creating a dynamic export plan which will evolve with economic changes and country priorities, the plan will provide a roadmap of activities to address St Lucia main supply-side, business environment and market entry constraints, while capitalizing on existing export opportunities.
The initiative began in January 2017 with a one-week visit to Saint Lucia by a two-member ITC team delegation—Mr Alberto Pacheo (lead consultant) and Ms Olga Khomula—whereby an initial assessment of Saint Lucia’s existing development program was conducted. The ITC delegation also facilitated a NEDS training working and held meetings with various export stakeholder agencies during their January visit.
Meanwhile in an effort to ensure the development of a comprehensive strategy; one which would garner the support and buy-in from a wide cross-sector of the islands export stakeholders, manufacturers and private and public sector firms; a national Core Committee compromising relevant stake holders from the public and private sector has since been formed to oversee, advice and direct the NEDS team in formulating the strategy. The core committee is co-chaired by Mrs Paula James, Executive Director, Saint Lucia Manufacturers Association, and Ms Yvonne Agard, Director, Saint Lucia Coalition of Services Industries.
Further, a National Consultative Team was also formed to provide counterpart technical support to the ITC Consultants. This National Consultative Team is comprises of representatives from the private sector, TEPA, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance.
A contingent from the ITC returned to Saint Lucia last month to facilitate a second round of stakeholder consultations and present a report on the first leg of consultation. A series of stakeholder consultations and bilateral meetings with key agencies was held by the ITC from March 15th to 17th. This second round of stakeholder consultations sought to drive home the critical importance of active engagement and participation of private and public sector stakeholders in the design and implement of the National Export Development Strategy. The ITC’s visit to Saint Lucia concluded with meetings with the national consultant and navigator responsible for the drafting the NEDS document.