Thursday 20th Jun 2024
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President Dr.Muizzu

President Muizzu: Achieving SIDS Goals Hinges on Private Sector Collaboration

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has stated that the goals set at this year's Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference will not be achieved without concerted collaboration between the governments and the private sector of small island nations. He made these remarks at a high-level meeting concluding the SIDS Global Business Network Forum held on the sidelines of the SIDS Conference.
In his address, President Muizzu highlighted the critical need for synergy between governments and the private sector in addressing the myriad challenges faced by developing small island nations. He called on the governments of SIDS countries to create an enabling environment for the various businesses operating within the private sector.
"The private sector can play a pivotal role in a country's economy, contributing to community empowerment, market practices, and technological advancements," President Muizzu said. "For small island countries, the role of the private sector is even more significant. Governments and businesses should increase their joint activities, promoting the economy by maintaining mutual trust."
President Muizzu underscored the importance of the SIDS Global Business Network Forum, which he described as a beacon of hope and confidence. He urged all stakeholders to work towards achieving three primary objectives:
1. **Growth and Investment in Small, Medium, and Youth Enterprises:** Encouraging investments and fostering the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including initiatives for young entrepreneurs.
2. **Empowerment of Local Communities:** Emphasizing inclusive participation to empower local communities, enhancing their connectivity with businesses and governments.
3. **Creating Platforms for Partnership and Knowledge Sharing:** Establishing avenues for sharing experiences and building partnerships, thereby fostering collaboration and sustainable development.
President Muizzu also stressed the need to open new avenues of financing to facilitate easier operations for businesses and to streamline cross-border trade. He highlighted the importance of providing markets for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to support their growth.
"Providing a market for SMEs will significantly aid their growth," he noted. "Private businesses play an indispensable role in small communities, delivering numerous services that the government might find challenging to provide. The growth of private businesses ultimately benefits governments as well."
The President pointed out that in SIDS countries, where island nations are often dispersed, the private sector's role becomes even more crucial. He urged the international community to understand that small countries depend on foreign funding to address future climate change and similar issues. Adequate funding would enable projects such as connecting and urbanizing islands through bridges or causeways, thus increasing access to education and health services and helping build a climate change-ready society.
Concluding his speech, President Muizzu called for continuous dialogue between businesses and government agencies to create platforms for engagement, facilitating knowledge sharing and partnership development. He emphasized the need for banks, multilateral institutions, and other financial entities to prioritize actions that make finance more accessible, affordable, and tailored to the needs of the private sector.
"The Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for SIDS can only be achieved when the governments of SIDS partner with the private sector and prioritize efforts to realize resilient and inclusive prosperity for all," President Muizzu asserted.
The fourth International Conference on SIDS (SIDS4) is being held in Antigua and Barbuda from May 27 to 30 under the theme, "Charting the Course Towards Resilient Prosperity." This event, organized by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS), brings together leaders and stakeholders to address the unique challenges and opportunities faced by SIDS.