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Twelve dos for Caribbean small island developing states when creating their future

Published on March 16, 2015 Email To Friend Print Version

By Dr Miguel Goede and Runy Calmera

When seizing the opportunities for managers, business owners and policymakers in the Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS), there are dos and don’ts. In this article we give a list of the dos. Of course these are only suggestions, not rules, to guide you.


Miguel Goede is a strategist and trend watcher in the Caribbean. He is based in Curacao and works for governments, corporations and NGO in the region. You can find out more on Join the discussion on Facebook Caribbean 3.0

1. Collect the water. Water is the essence of life. With climate change and pollution, clean water is not a guarantee. Water comes from the sky for free. Small island developing states should have a policy in place to collect and guarantee clean water.

2. Food is related to water. Growing local food is of strategic importance. In an earlier article we showed the dependence on oil imports. Likewise, food is imported by most Caribbean islands. We see a significant import of goods (food) on the balance sheet of Caribbean islands. While it is impossible to be completely self-sufficient in food, SIDS should reduce their dependence upon imported food. This is possible given the enormous progress of technology in agriculture. This strategy also strengthens the links between the local agricultural sector and tourism.

3. Focus on sustainable development with special focus on climate change and the rising sea level and water. Development should not leave a footprint, meaning development should not be at the expense of the next generation.


Runy Calmera is an economist, consultant, trainer and coach on economic analysis and policy for the 52 small island developing states (SIDS). You can find out more on and on Facebook

4. Education for the information age, making and keeping people employable, including entrepreneurship, in a rapid changing world is key. Give our children the tools to survive in the information world. Teach them that lifelong learning, continuously adapting to the ever changing world will be the norm. Education should not only focus on technology, but should be holistic and also teach ethics, citizenship, values and how to live a healthy life.

5. Focus on preventive healthcare instead of curative. This is a strategy to turnaround or at least slow down the ever increasing costs of the Caribbean healthcare systems.

6. Guarantee the rule of law. Nobody is above the law. For a SIDS to thrive there must be order. This is positive for the investment climate.

7. Put good governance in place. This means more transparency and accountability, leading to better decisions and lower cost of doing business and lower cost of government. Ultimately good governance will result in higher quality of services to the people and higher productivity of Caribbean businesses, which will increase the competitiveness of the islands.

8. Good governance will lead to a more equal distribution of income. This distribution could be influenced by a simple and progressive tax system.

9. Government should be e-government. Take Singapore as the benchmark to beat. Services to the Caribbean populations and businesses can be made much more efficient and cost effective by using online applications and proven frameworks. More than this, Caribbean islands need to benefit from the next internet waves, which are the Internet of Things and Big Data. But let’s first move beyond email and static websites. This will lower the cost of government and provide better service. Caribbean islands do not have to reinvent the wheel. Proven technologies can and should be used.

10. Innovation in ICT, green and blue energy, not only to lower the financial costs but especially to reduce the carbon footprint. Here Caribbean businesses could participate in joint ventures with foreign companies to use existing innovations in the Caribbean.

11. Empower society: Not only the business sector but especially civil society; youth and even the grey power of the senior citizens. Everybody must be involved in creating the future.

12. SIDS should develop, implement and monitor a long-term strategic plan or master plan, driving development towards 2030. In the plan SIDS should select their niche and go for it. The key here is not only developing plans but focusing on implementation and monitoring of actionable plans with a long-term focus. Also bringing the businesses and the government together in a single strategy for the island.

How will you implement these dos into your business for this and following years? How will you implement these dos into your policy? Let us know.

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