Councillor Michael Thompson, who heads the city’s economic development committee, is the point man for the new Caribbean Local Economic Development (CARILED) program.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), in conjunction with the Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM), the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA) and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), established the parameters for the implementation of the six-year $23.2 million CARILED project that’s expected to contribute to increased sustainable local economic growth in the Caribbean.
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is funding the project.
Thompson said CARILED is aimed at stimulating sustainable local economic development through the growth of the micro, small and medium-size enterprises sub-sector and the strengthening of competencies and capacities in local governments or local agencies of central government.
CARILED will be delivered at the local, national and regional levels. A group of four to six Caribbean countries where LED is already underway or where there is an urgency to support LED will be chosen as the initial focus of CARILED. These countries will represent the contextual diversity of the Caribbean.
“The FCM has done a lot of work around the world, including the Caribbean,” said Thompson who has been an FCM member for the past nine years. “We have seen the challenges that countries in urban centres are facing in terms of economic development. We want men and women in the Caribbean region to create opportunities that will stimulate growth.”
It’s expected that CARILED will expand its activities in the next three to four years, paying closer attention to knowledge dissemination, to a second group of countries that are not as advanced on LED or who had not been selected to join the initial group.
At the local level, up to 200 local authorities and governmental development agencies are expected to benefit from CARILED experience and results, with up to 50 assisted directly and up to 150 more benefitting from the knowledge created by the program. Nearly 500 male- and female-led business and civil society organizations are also expected to benefit directly.
The inaugural CARILED program steering committee will take place on June 18 at a venue to be decided. The co-chairs are Noel Arscott, the Minister in the Ministry of Local Government & Community Development in Jamaica and Louise Clement, the Minister Counsellor for Development in the CIDA Caribbean regional office.
The CARILED program director is Naresh Singh.
Thompson heads to Belize this weekend for a series of CARILED meetings starting on May 14.
By RON FANFAIR