Dominican Ambition : reversing dependency trends by engaging emerging markets

Dominican Ambition : reversing dependency trends by engaging emerging markets
By Kim Douglas, Monday August 5th 2011
Transformational Leadership involves empowering, stimulating, and motivating individuals to optimize their performance whilst encouraging and seeking to instill in them personal confidence in the hope that one day, they too may become leaders in their own right.

The 21st century demands that we empower our citizens with new ideas and approaches to break the depressing trends of dependency that exists both on the local and international levels. It is not enough to hope for foreign investors to build Dominica, or to be content with our constant state of dependency. We need to rediscover the concept of “Dominican Ambition” and cultivate it in our youth. The efficient utilization of our human resources based on the belief that progressive ideas can come from anywhere and that our hard work contributes significantly to the progress and welfare of our nature island, Dominica. It is in this light that I choose to depart briefly from the heated national political debate and seek to inject new ideas into our national dialogue.

At the crux of our national development strategy is the drive to attract foreign investment. We welcome the much needed foreign assistance which helps us to complete much needed infrastructural projects, equipping our local population with the basic tools required to thrive. In that regard the Government of Dominica has been very active. The new stadium, the west coast highway, new schools and the opportunities granted for Dominican students to broaden their horizons abroad, to name a few. These projects provide the basic infrastructure to enable significant progress on the island and I hope they will serve to stimulate our local economy whilst creating an attractive environment in which talented Dominicans will be tempted to return home and serve diligently.

As a small Island State located in the Eastern Caribbean, our economy is directly affected by situations in the developed world. With the American and European markets currently in the midst of a financial drought, we are now challenged with finding creative ways to achieve economic growth. This involves seeking new ideas, finding new ways to engage diplomatic partners, doing a better job of promoting our package (generating interest in the nature island), and being creative in finding new ways to penetrate emerging markets.  

The new Tourist Season is getting started and the Government of Dominica has expressed optimism despite the expected reduction in cruise ship calls. The plan seems to be to continue with existing projects and hope that present efforts will energize our Nature Island Theme and continue to drive our Tourism Package. However, with the sluggish financial reports coming from our most trusted markets, many Dominicans remain unconvinced.

Recent world trends reveal economic difficulties for the United States and Europe. This could surely result in Americans and Europeans having less disposable income, and unable to embark on trips which would allow them to discover the breathtaking natural beauty of our island or the relaxation and entertainment involved in coming into contact with the warmth of our people and our vivacious culture. In a nutshell our Tourism Industry could face significant challenges.

Asia on the other hand, is a region on the rise and boasts some of the largest emerging markets in the world. Now, more than ever we need to be ambitious in exploring how we can form a link with this base and find new ways to penetrate this ever growing market. The Government of Dominica has been successful in engaging the Government of the People’s Republic of China to secure educational opportunities and finance for infrastructural projects. Many Chinese Nationals have migrated to Dominica and managed to establish themselves in the local market. However, since Dominica is still an unknown entity in the Asian Region, we must be vigilant in establishing communication with the masses and generating interest in the nature island, seeking new ways to introduce ourselves to the future buyers of the world. I believe that this is the next step in our relationship with China. This is a low capital, high reward investment approach with the potential to magnify our strengths.  

Dominica can boast a broad, talented base in the Diaspora. The reality of being on the outside looking in stimulates thought and ideas as to how we can combine new strategies to help bring progress to our beloved country. Dominicans at home need to know that there are Dominicans in the Diaspora constantly striving to find new ways to make us more productive on the International Stage and ensure long term sustainable development for our country. I have lived in the Asian Region for the past decade and have carefully observed consumer trends whilst initiating various projects to improve communication and cross racial/cultural understanding. I’ve participated in numerous radio and television broadcasts, hosted various public shows and events, and written a series of articles to give a voice for Dominica, the Caribbean and black people by extension. I’ve found that the audience has been receptive, but we need to double our communication efforts with the goal of increasing exposure in this ever competitive Global Market. It is important to increase Dominica’s visibility and establish a warm relationship with the future consumers of the world.   

China now boasts the second largest economy in the world and continues to display robust growth. Known for decades as the manufacturing capital of the world, China’s economy is undergoing a significant transition marked by the rise of a new middle class with impressive spending power. Current trends point to a shift towards consumer-led economic growth. By the year 2020, this rapidly growing middle class is expected to reach 700 million people. (Greater than the populations (2011 census data) of the U.S.A, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom and France combined). How Can we take advantage of this consumer spending growth? Are we positioning ourselves to profit from this drastic global economic power shift?
We need to be ambitious and act aggressively, the time is NOW.


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