Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday that he wants the Bahamian economy to become more diverse by “supporting more buoyant and resilient economic growth”.
“We have secured a non-reimbursable grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in the amount $500,000, to finance a three-year technical cooperation project with a particular focus on the ‘digital economy’ and the ‘blue economy’,” Turnquest said.
The finance minister said the goal is to convince Bahamian firms to consider merging “digital technologies into their business strategies.”
“The government aims to develop a sector strategy that involves both public and private stakeholders,” he said.
“We contemplate the need to improve the existing information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and legal and institutional framework, in order to promote investments in digital sector, as well as to use digital solutions to improve productivity in all economic sectors.”
The deputy prime minister further stated that the ‘blue economy’ concept was used during the 2012 United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development, and is a growing idea that identifies the need to maximize “the enormous economic potential presented by the ocean, while preserving it”.
“The concept of the Blue Economy,” he said, “includes the simultaneous promotion of economic growth, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, and strengthening of oceans ecosystems.”
Turnquest further elaborated on how small island nation’s such as The Bahamas, will benefit from the ‘blue economy’, by the “identification and the diversification into many other new and emerging ocean based activities and sectors, including marine aquaculture, seabed mining, maritime safety and surveillance, marine biotechnology, marine security offshore wind energy and deep-sea oil and gas production.”
The Minister of Finance said the project will consist of three major phases.
In the first phase, the project is expected to undertake a diagnostic for each one of the industries, with the objective of validating the initial activities that have been identified, prioritizing one or more actionable and discrete actions to support – with a focus on early implementation, the economic impact and the possibility of scaling up.
“In phase two, efforts will be dedicated to promoting stakeholder ownership and commitment; to establish a structure for driving the implementation of the roadmap; and to initiate immediate actions utilizing available resources,” he said.
In phase three, activities will center on communication campaigns to promote findings from the studies, and awareness campaigns between the public and private stakeholders that will support the creation of networks and communities with the stakeholders.
In addition, monitoring and evaluation systems with indicators regarding the sectors performance, will be developed, he said.
Turquest went on to say ‘blue economy’ has been openly discussed in The Bahamas for years and the policy will be guarded to ensure the promises of the ‘blue economy’ is maintained and amplifies the shared well-being of the Bahamian people.
This article was written by RIEL MAJOR, Eyewitness News intern.