The Services sector in the Caribbean is characterized primarily by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) which lack the capacity to fully integrate into the global economy. It is recognized that that in order for the private sector to overcome this constraint, there is need to pull available resources together in order to enhance the private sector’s capacity to become more competitive, efficient and effective, and better able to ensure the sustainability of the Services Sector, the primary contributor to GDP of many economies within the region.
Accordingly, efforts are underway in most Member States to rationalize private sector umbrella bodies, and work is therefore being undertaken to merge some of these bodies or enhance the level of collaboration among them to improve synergies, cohesion and complementarity. In view of this, CARICOM Member States and the CARICOM Secretariat have developed a Regional Development Plan for the Services Sector which seeks to strength the services component of the private sector.
In order to give effect to this Plan, at the Eleventh COTED of 17-19 May 2002, the Trade Ministers agreed to support a strategy which sought to establish National Coalitions of service industries and a regional umbrella body for Services within CARICOM.
The rationale was that the regional umbrella organizations would support the national coalitions and strengthen their capacity to represent the interests of the service sector stakeholders, as Member States shaped their trade and development policies for the sector.
The Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions (CNSC) was established in December of 2010. CNSC comprises 10 actively functioning National Coalitions which include Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.
The CNSC interfaces with funding agencies and donor organizations to solicit and coordinate funding, training and capacity building for service industries in the region.
The core objectives of CNSC are:
- To raise awareness of the importance of the services sector at the national/regional level
- To develop export promotion programmes
- To lobby for the development of the sector
- To support institutional strengthening for the services sector (associations and coalitions)
CNSC publishes an annual trade magazine – Services Scoop – which serves as a great source of information and knowledge sharing, networking and awareness building for service providers and personnel of service coalitions across the region.