Eradication of poverty and dependence are among the elements of Nicholas Earle Brathwaite’s vision for Grenada.
His presentation entitled Future Perspective: Grenada and the Way Forward Post COVID-19 outlines his vision for a sustainable economy with opportunities for everyone; with 12,000 new jobs in the next decade and 4,500 by 2025; a leading healthcare system, motivated young people, financially secure retirees and a Gross Domestic Product that doubles over the next 10 years.
The son of former Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Brathwaite advises Grenada to “eliminate the risk to our highest asset;” namely, our people. Creating a vibrant and versatile economy will require increased growth in agriculture and fisheries and more competitive businesses that create sustainable jobs. Citing World Bank statistics, he said between 2006 and 2016, a total of 1,600 companies registered in Grenada.
“If 10% (160) of these had been successful and each hired 25 people, we would have had 4,000 new jobs.”
He notes that Grenada’s unemployment has exceeded 20% during the past decade, with youth long-term unemployment at 40% for low-skilled and skilled, and 20% for highly skilled workers. He estimates the post-COVID-19 unemployment rate ranges between 40 to 50%.
The founding managing partner at WRVI Capital, said venture funds are only part of the solution; the focus should be to increase entrepreneurial successes. He recommended what he calls an “impact centre” or a hub for entrepreneurs with access to markets and the support necessary to improve global competitiveness and capital efficiency. The centre would facilitate introductions to global customers and suppliers; as well as identify target markets, customers and partners.
If businesses are to succeed, they need operational support, financial management and market research, all of which and more could be part of an effective impact centre.
He warns Grenada is too reliant on tourism; and believes agriculture needs to become a platform for wealth creation. A greater focus on agriculture would include utilising more technology, better access to credit, increased cattle ownership, herbs and medicinal plants, an investment in dairy and hydroponics. He also suggested best practises would stop subsistence farming, introduce more crop rotations, eliminate tillage and ensure quality control.