The Bahamas: the world's gateway to the Americas.

Author:Zbar, Jeff

For years, "It's better in The Bahamas" has been the iconic slogan for the island nation's tourism campaigns. Today, the same can be said for the Island's global business, industry and financial services.

The nation's elected and business leaders have established a reputation among global bankers and financers as a stable democracy and tax-friendly haven a short flight from the US. With global trade taking center stage, business leaders from throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia--and especially China--are descending on the islands to stake their claims.

With an independent seat at the UN and membership in CELAC and CARACOM, the world Is taking notice. Next year the 2016 Inter-American Development Bank global annual meeting will be held in Nassau. In November the inaugural Sino Americas Summit, an "Economic Forum for the Americas," as some have called it, will bring together Chinese, Latin American and Caribbean dignitaries and business leaders to explore economic growth and development potential in areas including infrastructure, energy and agri-business.

Once thought of just as a tourism destination, The Bahamas has been discovered and transformed by a host of industries drawn to economic and political stability; proximity to regional markets, and a strong workforce. Exports have come to include pharmaceuticals, construction materials and refined petroleum. The market Is growing its own renewable energy bio science and research clusters, making the nation a crucial component of the global value chain.

For global interests, The Bahamas is strategically located as a natural connection between US and Canada and Caribbean countries, said Yuan Guisen, Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas, whose President Xi Jinping has fostered bilateral relations with The Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie.

"It is a politically stable country with well-developed tourism and financial industry" the Ambassador said, "making it an important gateway of American market for Chinese investors in relevant Industries."

The Inter-American Development Bank is working closely with country leaders to address, reform or Improve such areas as air transport, trade, potable water; cheaper energy resources, natural resource preservation, the effects of climate change, disaster preparedness, citizen security and justice administration, private sector development and public financial management

With the creation of a National Development Plan for its 700 islands, IDB engagement could help steer diversification beyond the nation's reliance on tourism and financial services, which together account for more about 70% of the nation's GDR said Astrid Wynter IDB representative In The Bahamas. The nation's goal is to reach a fiscal surplus by 2017.

"All of these are critically important to business and investors," said Wynter whose organization's current portfolio of projects there with government and the private sector is valued at $260.5 million. "We have a solid, credible and trusting relationship based on a shared commitment to the development of the country

With a well-educated workforce, from skilled labor to professional services like accountants, lawyers and bankers, the island "doesn't require International human capital," said David Munoz, CEO with Deltec, the oldest private bank and trust group in The Bahamas, "As a...

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