The AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022 (ACTIF2022), slated for Bridgetown, Barbados, from September 1–3, 2022, is designed to build new trade and investment relationships between Africa and the Caribbean. The inextricable link between the two regions is well documented; a shared history, identity and philosophy bind them. These are the threads that African and Caribbean nations must draw on to write a new, positive chapter in the regions’ history.
Africa is the fastest growing continent in the world. According to The Brookings Institution, Africa’s population is roughly 1.2 billion, projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. UNICEF predicts that the current population will more than double by 2050 to 2.5 billion. Moreover, Brookings notes it is anticipated that annual spending by African consumers and businesses will reach US$6.66 trillion by 2030, a 65% increase from 2015 figures.
Africa’s trade and investment outlook is promising. Given the continent’s economic potential, now is the time to increase trade and investment in Africa.
Several opportunities exist for the Caribbean relative to trade and investment with Africa. These include:
- Potential export markets for goods and services – the anticipated growth in business and consumer spending presents tremendous opportunities for Caribbean businesses.
- Availability of raw materials – Africa is rich in natural resources and raw materials.
- Large potential workforce – the World Economic Forum reported that 70% of Africans are younger than 30, indicating an abundant labour force.
- High digital adoption rate – increased digitalisation creates opportunities for growth and development.
The Caribbean’s population and landmass are not as vast as Africa’s, but it offers many attributes that make up for what it lacks in size. The latest UN report states that the Caribbean has a captive market of more than 40 million, making the archipelago an attractive location for trade and investment from Africa. Easy access from the Caribbean to North, South, and Central America would also benefit African traders and investors seeking to break into those markets.
Among the attractive features the Caribbean offers to investors looking for trade and investment opportunities include:
- Accessibility – daily direct flights throughout the region to international destinations, including the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.
- Advanced infrastructure – affordable electricity, water, and internet connectivity.
- Political and economic stability – favourable conditions for business.
- An educated labour force and qualified industry professionals.
- Manifold investment opportunities – growth potential in various sectors that include tourism, health care, financial services, creative industries, pharmaceuticals, education and agribusiness.
- Openness to trade – several Caribbean countries have preferential access to some of the world’s largest markets.
There are numerous opportunities for the Caribbean and Africa to collaborate. ACTIF2022 will explore many of them and facilitate dialogue on how to turn those opportunities into reality. For more information about ACTIF2022, visit www.actif2022.com