More investment and effort must be put into strengthening the enabling environment if the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector is to fulfil its potential and drive economic growth and social development in the Caribbean.
This was the call last week from president of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr Warren Smith, when he spoke at the State of the Sector Conference hosted by the Barbados Small Business Association.
“MSMEs are the backbone of the private sector”, stated the Bank president, noting MSMEs account for on average, “50 per cent of GDP and create 45 per cent of jobs in our Region.”
However, he said, the “full potential remains unrealised” as their export levels do not match their share of the private sector or contribution to employment.
He outlined several areas for governments, business support organisations and other stakeholders, including the Bank, to focus their attention so as to “unleash this potential”.
He said a lot of work needed to be done to create a business-friendly environment for MSMEs to grow and develop. Smith said the Caribbean had slid to 126 out of 190 in 2019 in the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings compared to 81 of 181 countries in the 2009 survey.