In May 2014, the incoming President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Dr. Warren Smith, asserted that “over the next 10 years, some US$30 billion will be required to modernize and enhance the efficiency of the power, transportation, telecommunications, and water and wastewater sectors”.
The need is real, but the challenges are significant. For many investors the Caribbean isn’t on the radar screen. And for those that are looking at the region, there are significant issues around viability, project risk and financing.
Against this backdrop CIBC FirstCaribbean recently announced that it has joined forces with IJGlobal, the infrastructure arm of Euromoney Institutional Investor, and New Energy Events, the host of the annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF), to launch the Caribbean Infrastructure Finance Forum (CARIF) in Nassau, The Bahamas in December, 2016.
A gathering of regional public sector leaders and international infrastructure powerhouses, CARIF is designed to map out the region’s infrastructure needs to the international market, explore what can be done to attract international capital to address those needs, and move the infrastructure needle forward.
CARIF has attracted a world-class roster of speakers including leaders and luminaries from Hon. Philip E. “Brave” Davis, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Bahamas and Dan Theoc, CFO of Jamaica’s JPS, to Brannen McElmurray, Managing Director at Fortress Investment Group and Pim van der Burg, Managing Director, Corporate and Investment Banking for CIBC FirstCaribbean.
According to Jon Whiteaker, Editor-In-Chief of IJGlobal, “Governments in the region are showing (they are) willing but they need to ramp up dialogue with the private sector in order to achieve the efficient delivery of projects and good value for their investments. CARIF is the ideal forum for those discussions to take place.”
Pim van der Burg added: “CIBC FirstCaribbean’s role as one of the leading financial services companies in the Caribbean is to contribute to the continued development of our region, by arranging and providing financing for projects that are designed to demonstrate that development. But we see ourselves as more than merely providing the financing: we see ourselves as partners to the various stakeholders and this is why we consider this type of forum so critical. It brings together those players who can mobilize these projects and transform them from plans on a piece of paper to a reality for the benefit of our people.”
Matthew Perks, CEO of New Energy Events, continues that, “We have a real opportunity here. CIBC FirstCaribbean, IJGlobal and New Energy Events – along with our friends and partners at the IDB, CDB and IFC – have real convening power and the ability to launch a platform that can make a difference in the region’s bid to attract capital to vital projects.”