The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed unprecedented economic chaos. Nearly overnight, the effects of this global phenomenon have transformed thriving markets into dead industries. It even triggered rare economic destabilizations such as the now infamous twin supply-demand shock that was already being felt back in March.
But the pandemic has done more than simply deny otherwise healthy economies their ability to function. COVID has exposed the weaknesses in several national economies that had already become systemic problems. COVID or any other shock would have eventually exposed them.
The countries that most strongly highlight this fact are the nations of the Caribbean.
This region was particularly vulnerable to the consequences of a global health crisis. For one, Caribbean countries such as Grenada, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts are heavily based on tourism, and in some cases, almost entirely reliant on the sector. With a near-complete interruption of tourism and a severe global downturn in demand for leisure products and services, many Caribbean nations have been forced to scramble to keep their economies afloat.
Looking to the future, it seems increasingly likely this will be the norm for the coming period. With some form of travel restrictions projected to be in place through at least early 2021, tourism can scarcely rely on a quick rebound. Market forecasts have reflected this reality. In its World Economic Outlook publication, the International Monetary Fund has predicted a staggering 10.3 percent drop in tourism-dependent economies. This means a bleak projection for Caribbean nations where tourism makes up fifty to ninety percent of Gross Domestic Product and generates the vast majority of employment. Already a number of Caribbean nations are finding themselves squeezed in terms of their ability to repay their international debt obligations.
But the current economic turmoil being observed in many countries is not necessarily new. While the pandemic has certainly made things a lot worse, prior to COVID, many Caribbean nations were sorely lacking in several vital areas. Education has been subpar by international standards and drawing foreign investment in business and infrastructure has been fraught with serious challenges. Additionally, many of these countries possess relatively weak business environments and low-skill labor markets. Scrambling to find new sources of income, some governments have fallen back on already existing low-level industries, mostly involving local exports such as spices and indigenous crops. However, these attempts only brought out the old problems in scaling up these business sectors such as unpredictable environmental factors. In the Caribbean, the advent of COVID-19 has not toppled a stable economic structure, it simply revealed how fragile these countries are.
Fortunately, many Caribbean leaders have become creative in attracting foreign capital. To overcome their economic challenges, several governments have developed citizenship by investment schemes (CBI), programs targeting business investors by offering citizenship for a particular funder in return for direct investment in national infrastructure. Some of these programs have been around for several years, and have proven to be an effective method of attracting entrepreneurs and capital resources to the region. Thanks to CBI programs, entrepreneurs are supporting and reshaping these fragile economies.
One business leader has taken upon himself to show the full potential of CBI projects. Soren Dawody, a long-time entrepreneur and business strategist, has set out to revitalize the Caribbean by opening up new industries and unleashing untapped economic potential. Dawody’s firm, Akros Global, has established itself as the leading company guiding investors through CBI protocols. Even before the 2020 economic crisis, Dawody has been successful in breathing new life into struggling economies through operations like his Sustainable Aquaculture (GSA) initiative in Grenada.
Now that the pandemic has laid waste to many industries, Akros is looking to kick off several other highly lucrative projects in many countries that have been devastated by the effects of the pandemic.
In a time of extreme instability and uncertainty, the benefit Akros brings to the table is invaluable. The company benefits both investor clients and the host countries, introducing investors to the slew of opportunities the Caribbean has to offer whilst growing economies.
This win-win aspect of Akros’ strategy is unique and highlights Dawody’s approach as an entrepreneur and business developer. Dawody has spent his entire career operating at the intersection of social impact and environmental sustainability. His business philosophy of integrating social progress, charity, and altruism into his projects has gained him international recognition. After years in the entrepreneurial field, Dawody has proven himself to be a businessman that integrates philanthropy while maintaining returns for investors.
It is this very methodology that is needed to turn around the decline for regions like the Caribbean. Again, it is not that COVID has destroyed the region’s economies, more that it has uncovered its fundamental deficiencies. In this way, COVID must be seen as an opportunity. Diversifying markets and developing stagnant industries is what is necessary to ensure long-term stability. Through initiatives like Dawody’s Akros Global, the Caribbean can re-build and establish a vibrant and promising future.