The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Saint Lucia strengthened a common road map framed in cooperation, complementarity and solidarity, by signing three agreements on Friday 6, October, 2023, on the occasion of the official visit of the Prime Minister of the Caribbean island, Hon. Philip J. Pierre, to Venezuelan soil.
The protocol ceremony for the signing of the agreements, from the Simón Bolívar Hall of the Miraflores Palace, included the signing of the document called Roadmap for the Development of Cooperation between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Saint Lucia.
The instrument signed by the Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Yván Gil Pinto and the Minister of External Affairs, International Trade, Civil Aviation and Diaspora Affairs of Saint Lucia, Hon. Alva Baptiste, is aimed at expanding bilateral cooperation through the preparation of joint proposals for the future and early signing of agreements in the areas of development, education, tourism, fishing, food sovereignty, air transportation and infrastructure.
“We have signed the roadmap and we have also established the action plan, a real concrete action plan, to produce food of Saint Lucia, in Venezuela, in a shared manner, to increase trade, to guarantee energy sovereignty, to support each other in education, tourism, culture, housing construction”, detailed the President of the Republic, H.E. Nicolas Maduro.
The intention is to design and implement programs and projects that will allow the implementation of cooperation activities in all sectors of common interest for the benefit of both peoples.
The second document is the Air Services Agreement between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Saint Lucia, to promote an international air transportation system that offers fair and equitable opportunities to the respective airlines.
This agreement was signed by the Minister of People’s Power for Transportation, Hon. Ramón Celestino Velásquez Araguayán, and the Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Alva Baptiste.
This air services agreement will be active as of November. “Opening air operations and connecting Saint Lucia with Venezuela, Venezuela with Saint Lucia. We are joining the Caribbean, great news (…) and I am sure that these flights will be very successful and will increase the exchange of our peoples for tourism and to strengthen relations,” he said.
The third important aspect of this meeting in Caracas was the signing of the Joint Declaration between Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and the Prime Minister of the Caribbean nation.
“With this declaration we ratify the principles of self-determination of the peoples, of Latin America and the Caribbean as a territory of the principles of cooperation, solidarity, brotherhood, mutual benefit, progressive and upward development of relations, the founding principles of our peoples,” ratified the Head of State.
With the signing of the three documents, bilateral cooperation is expanded under the premises of respect, defense of sovereignty, complementarity and cooperation.
“We have set out to turn the cooperative relationship of joint work and brotherhood between Saint Lucia and Venezuela into a model to be followed for relations with the entire Caribbean and other peoples, a relationship that is brilliant, that yields concrete results, that raises the quality of life of our people,” he said.
SOURCE: Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Financial Information Month (FIM) is a regional financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial education campaign executed in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) every October since 2002, through the collaborative efforts of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), ECCU member governments, financial and academic institutions, the media, other private and public sector institutions and community-based groups. The Month forms part of an ECCU financial and economic education programme coordinated by the ECCB. The programme incorporates a series of initiatives designed to support the attainment of the goal of “a financially developed and vibrant ECCU region that fosters strong and sustainable economic growth and the improved well-being of the citizenry.”
ECCB Governor calls for collective action to scale up financial literacy and financial inclusion in the ECCU
Speaking at the launch event held to release the results of the inaugural Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Survey, the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Timothy N.J. Antoine, said the ECCB commissioned the survey because financial inclusion is a strategic priority for the Central Bank.
Financial inclusion refers to access to a range of financial services including banking, credit and insurance whereas financial literacy refers to the ability to understand certain financial issues and use financial skills for personal financial management such as budgeting and investing.
“In a region which boasts high levels of adult literacy (high 90 per cent), financial literacy is lamentably low and lugubrious,” the Governor said.
Governor Antoine added: “Armed with the results of this Survey and seized with a sense of urgency, I issue a clarion call for a coalition of partners and champions (institutionally and individually) to join the ECCB as we craft and implement a strategy to scale up financial literacy and inclusion in the ECCU.”
ECCB Governor Timothy N.J. Antoine noted that such a scaling up can be achieved through strong collective commitment. For instance, he said that in order for every high school graduate in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) to be financially literate, it would necessitate a collaboration between the ECCU’s Ministries of Education and the Caribbean Examinations Council to make this outcome a high priority.
Governor Antoine also said that if every workplace—starting with governments, which are the largest employers—offered financial wellness programmes, that would be a new day and a giant stride in our big push for financial resilience and wealth creation. “This is a cause worth pursuing,” the ECCB Governor said, noting it would mean “huge potential dividends.”
He continued: “As a region, we cannot change our history nor can we change our geography, but collectively we can elevate our development trajectory through innovation and collective action.”
Governor Antoine said the ECCB’s Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Survey itself was made possible through partnerships, namely with the OECS Commission (through its Project Management Unit) and the World Bank funded Caribbean Digital Transformation Project.
The ECCB Governor also said that, over the past 21 years, the Central Bank has sought to raise the level of financial literacy through its savings and investment courses, its annual Financial Information Month, and in the past seven years through its weekly podcast ECCB Connects.
“For these efforts, I wish to acknowledge the work of past and present ECCB staff and partners. You have helped many, but many more still need to be helped. In short, we need to scale up,” said Governor Antoine.
Please click here for the results of the Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Survey.
ECCB’s Inaugural Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Survey finds that only half of respondents are financially resilient
26 September 2023, Basseterre, Saint Christopher (St Kitts) and Nevis – The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) on Monday, 18 September released the results of its inaugural Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Survey, which revealed the sobering statistic that only 50 per cent of the persons who responded to the survey are financially resilient.
Speaking at the launch event held at the ECCB, the Bank’s Governor Timothy N.J. Antoine said, “I think of financial resilience as the capacity to absorb and bounce forward from a shock, such as a health event, a job loss, an economic downturn, a natural disaster or even a pandemic. Let’s face it; there are persons in the ECCU who have experienced all these shocks during the past five years.”
The ECCB Governor noted that, “We live in a shock-prone world. As a region vulnerable to external shocks, we must be engaged in a lifelong pursuit of building resilience including financial resilience. This is imperative for member countries, companies and individuals.”
Governor Antoine added: “When it comes to our personal finances, we must hope for the best but plan for the worst. Never forget, hope is not a strategy. Every citizen should aspire to be financial literate and resilient.”
The Governor took the opportunity to commend all those who played a role in ensuring the successful planning and execution of the Survey, especially C. Teresa Smith, Director of ECCB’s Research, Statistics and Data Analytics Department and Dr Leah Sahely, Data Specialist at ECCB, as well as the entire Project Management Unit at the OECS Commission led by Imran Williams, now the Director of Finance in the Government of Saint Lucia.
Governor Antoine also acknowledged the technical and financial support of the World Bank under the Caribbean Digital Transformation Project; Mr. Edwin St. Catherine whose company, Data Point Solutions Inc., executed the Survey; and all the persons who participated in the Survey.
Please click here for the results of the Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion Survey.
Global Supply Chain Shocks and Disruptions
On 23 March 2021, traffic through the Suez Canal ground to a halt causing a backlog of container ships from Asia to Europe and giving way to another round of uncertainty in the global supply chain. This followed on the disruptions and pressures arising from the fallout caused by the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. Global supply chain crisis is not new. The global supply chain has been impacted over the years by various factors such as a shortage of inputs and fuel, wars and geopolitical tensions, and climatic conditions. However, never has the supply chain been more tested than now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The global pandemic has revealed the fragility of the supply chain and the resulting impact on our lives and livelihoods.
Read the full article on the ECCB website here.
2021 Financial Information Month Virtual Business Symposium
Minding Your Business: How Small Businesses Can Stay Afloat in Tough Times
Moderator: Kevin Hope, Executive Director – St Kitts and Nevis Chambers of Commerce