Bahamas aims for top tier on World Bank Index for ease of doing business, says MOTIA

Bahamas aims for top tier on World Bank Index for ease of doing business, says MOTIA

Govt aims to make World Bank top 50 list of ease of doing business within next 5 years

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Davis administration has set the year 2026 for The Bahamas to rank in the top tier of the World Bank’s index for ease of doing business.

With the reopening of travel, our economic prospects are looking quite promising.

– Chester Cooper

This was expressed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper in his address to The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (BICA) 50th Anniversary Virtual Conclave on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. It was held under the theme “50 Years and Counting: What’s Next?”

In the context of investments, the minister said the investment mandate is at the very core of the government’s economic plan and it is by design that the ministry he heads is now called “The Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation”.

Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation and Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper. (BIS/KEMUEL STUBBS)

“As an investor-friendly nation, this new administration has given itself a goal to achieve within the next five years,” the minister said.

“By 2026, our objective is to attain a spot in the World Bank’s Top 50 Index for Ease of Doing Business. Our blueprint maps out the path to this objective.”

He added: “We have set out to build a sleek, well-oiled machinery to facilitate foreign and local investors. We will enhance Bahamas Invest, the investment promotional arm of the government, to fast-track and promote a new model of foreign direct investment.”

In this vein, Cooper told BICA it would be called upon to advise all of these new business developments to ensure sustainability.

He said although the country is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, there are clear indicators that things are progressing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was an unforeseen crisis that has had an unprecedented impact on global tourism — an impact we have felt deeply right here in The Bahamas, where tourism is the bread and butter of our economy, accounting for 50 percent of our entire GDP and 65 percent of our employment,” Cooper said.

This “monumental hit” to the economy, he continued, came on the heels of the most destructive Atlantic hurricane, Dorian, which, tore through two of the northern islands, Grand Bahama and Abaco.

A Frontier Airlines team member hangs the Bahamian flag outside the cockpit following the airline’s inaugural flight between Orlando, Florida, and Nassau, The Bahamas, on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. (BIS/KEMUEL STUBBS)

“We as a nation have been through quite a lot in the last two years, but we are strong and resilient and together we will persevere and come out even better than before,” he said.

“With the reopening of travel, our economic prospects are looking quite promising.”

As all engage in rebuilding the economy, the minister noted that the “what’s next” is focused on two core elements — strong growth in tourism and a pipeline of international investments.

“From a tourism perspective, we are trending in the right direction for rebound and recovery, particularly as travel restrictions ease and travelers have greater access to vaccinations,” Cooper said, noting he is optimistic about a robust holiday season ahead.