CARIBPR WIRE, Basseterre, St. Kitts, Dec. 12, 2022: Prime Minister Terrance Drew of the island nation of St Kitts and Nevis was in Dubai recently for a state visit that not only aims to strengthen bilateral relations but also glean lessons from the United Arab Emirates that will pivot the island into a sought-after business and leisure hub in the Caribbean.
The new prime minister and his delegation had several meetings and engagements over the four-day trip which took place from 29 November to 3 December 2022.
The two regions have enjoyed years of fruitful relations that have resulted in several areas of cooperation in which both countries have achieved together. This includes the signing of a historic Air Services Agreement. The seminal move paved the way for air traffic between the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis and the UAE.
The UAE also expressed previous interest in assisting the twin island Federation in adapting stronger climate change resilient measures, particularly as it relates to infrastructure. As climate related weather patterns become more fierce, St Kitts and Nevis is looking to tap into Dubai’s knowledge and expertise in constructing durable and resilient structures.
Just as recently as the 1960s, Dubai’s economy was merely dependent on the revenues generated from trade and oil exploration concessions. A major chunk of revenue obtained from oil reserves started to flow in 1969 and the rapid development of Dubai began – including major infrastructure like schools and hospitals and, over the years, it transformed Dubai into the business hub we know today.
St Kitts and Nevis developed and instituted its citizenship by investment programme in 1984 as a way to increase and diversify revenue generation. For nearly 40 years the programme has been instrumental in catapulting the nation from just a small island in the Caribbean to a globally recognized investment destination.
Without this foreign direct investment into the nation, St Kitts and Nevis would have certainly progressed at a much slower pace than desired.
The government of St Kitts and Nevis has made considerable progress in reducing its public debt and is among other countries in the Caribbean that supplement their economic activity through CBI programmes which provide astute investors with the option to obtain citizenship by investing in the country. The new government administration of St Kitts and Nevis believes that residents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a lot to benefit from its CBI programme.
The country is looking to build its reputation on the international stage and the CBI programme is one way to direct foreign direct investment to innovative projects across the spheres of education, health, agriculture and tourism.
For example, the travel and tourism sector accounted for one tenth of the gross domestic product (GPD) in St Kitts and Nevis in 2021, dropping for the second consecutive year. Part of the funds channeled the citizenship by investment programme will be used to revitalize the sector and re-establish St Kitts and Nevis as must-visit destination.
Attracting the right kind of developers who will inject cash into developing attractive real estate projects that will charm discerning investors, is one way to grow the tourism sector. Not only that but the upgrading and development of important infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, airports and hotel chains is another way the funds will be used to not only bring up tourist numbers but investors too.
The visit was also aimed at deepening relationships with important stakeholders including international investors and government approved agents, who play a vital role in promoting and supporting the country’s recently upgraded citizenship by investment programme.
St Kitts and Nevis is the first country of the Caribbean Community to establish a formal diplomatic presence in the UAE, recently opening an embassy and consulate in the region.
The members of the delegation which included, Cabinet Secretary, Dr Natta, Attorney General, Mr. Wilkin, Minister of Tourism, Ms. Henderson, Mr. Anthony and Ms. Galloway, were positive following the visit and believe that there were many lessons learned from visit that they could take back home and implement.
The visit also signifies to the world St Kitts and Nevis is open for business. During the visit, business partners, investors and citizens were able to meet the Prime Minister and the accompanying delegation members at an exclusive cocktail event that was hosted by the High Commission of St Kitts and Nevis during the trip.
The visit provided an opportunity for St Kitts and Nevis to attract investors who seek mutually beneficial partnerships with the nation.
Saint Kitts and Nevis administers one of the most successful citizenship by investment programmes in the world. This government delegation was aimed at showing investors, entrepreneurs and families from the UAE that they are all welcome in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The Prime Minister’s visit has come at a time when the economies of many countries are affected by the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and by the consequences of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Prime Minister Drew is on a drive to find and implement solutions that will prosper St Kitts and Nevis and one of those actions included upgrading the country’s CBI programme – the government is taking measures to sustain and enhance the image of the twin-island federation’s CBI programme, so it is more transparent and follows the principles of integrity and good governance.
The St Kitts and Nevis government also recently launched its “Venture Deeper” campaign. This is a branding campaign aimed at highlighting the country’s famous and marked natural environment while introducing elements of introspective self-discovery and intention.
The campaign’s visual assets, showcased at a May 20 media premiere in New York, highlighted St Kitts and Nevis’ lush natural environment, including the territory’s rainforest, abundant historic landmarks and immersive cultural experiences.
St Kitts and Nevis’ revamped citizenship by investment programme is aimed at intelligent investors looking not only to prosper themselves, but those who are sustainability minded in their investment decisions.