Pursuing greater educational and economic opportunities with the Carribean nations, the United States of America today underlined its commitment to deepen economic ties with the states in the regions.
At Caribbean-American Heritage Event in DC today, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns says the Caribbean-Americans have taken many different paths to US shores.
“What all have in common is that, once here, they and their children and their children’s children became part of the fabric of our communities and produced uniquely American success stories.” -Mr. Burns
He states that Caribbean-Americans have made a remarkably rich contribution to American life.
Caribbean art and music add spice to American culture, he added.
Caribbean flavors liven up American kitchens and Caribbean businessmen and women bring entrepreneurial energy to the U.S. economy, Mr. Burns said.
The critical role of diaspora communities in sparking development in the United States and deepening economic, cultural, and even diplomatic ties, he highlighted.
He says the remittances that families and friends send home, the investments in business in Carribean countries have a reach that US diplomats and development experts can never hope to match.
“We look to you as partners in promoting development and building ties within our hemisphere.” -Mr. Burns
And in that spirit, Mr. Burns announced initiatives that US government has launched.
In partnership with Compete Caribbean, the United States has developed an initiative called the Caribbean Idea Marketplace or CIM.
According to Mr. Burns, CIM is a business competition that connects Caribbean entrepreneurs with members of the diaspora to help them create jobs and economic opportunities.
This year, Mr. Burns announces that the US government is selecting ten projects that will each win a grant of $100,000.
The US government is also working to empower women entrepreneurs in the region, Mr. Burns added.
From Trinidad and Tobago to Jamaica, women are developing businesses, he cited.
“And the success of these women is helping to sustain families, neighborhoods, and entire communities.” -Mr. Burns
He says convincing governments and businesses and NGOs across the world to recognize the transformative power of investing in women has been a top priority for Secretary Clinton.
Empowering women becomes part of US economic policy toward the Caribbean as well, Mr. Burns said.
“Thanks to the Caribbean Women’s Entrepreneurship Network, which connects and trains female entrepreneurs. This is a promising effort, and it is growing quickly.” -Mr.Burns
He announces that the United States needs talented and motivated people to help build deeper ties with Caribbean nations and solve challenges around the world, from poverty and public health to counterterrorism and climate change.
For American diplomacy to be most effective, Mr. Burns says the US needs a Foreign Service that is truly representative of America and all its diversity.
The US government has seen how the talents of Caribbean-Americans have enriched so many parts of the life of the United States.
He underlines that these contributions inspire all to work together to realize the promise of U.S.-Caribbean cooperation that both countries celebrate today.
Reports say most Eastern Caribbean countries are benefiting from good economic conditions in the United States.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the near-term growth prospects in most of the Eastern Caribbean’s countries “remain strong” as their economies are “buoyed” by tourism from the United States and the United Kingdom.
A high level of construction activity in the Eastern Caribbean also is improving the region’s economy.
Growth in the region has been strong, largely due to a recovery in tourism, and increased construction activity in preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup, which will be played in a number of countries in the Caribbean region, according to IMF.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) operates an Eastern Caribbean program that provides about $17 million annually to promote economic development, legal reform, trade-capacity building and HIV/AIDS assistance to the region’s small island countries. USAID operates an office in Barbados that directly administers the Eastern Caribbean program.