COVID-19 has brought about several opportunities for many countries, investment promotion agencies (IPAs) and businesses globally, including those in Latin America and the Caribbean. Several countries now have the opportunity to re-analyse the traditional sectors that may have once been flourishing prior to COVID-19, and focus more on the sectors less likely to be impacted by the pandemic such as agro-manufacturing, consumer goods, financial services, information communication technology, logistics, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.
These sectors among others, have seen a considerable increase in business and have been doing well during the pandemic. Businesses in these sectors include biotechnology, cyber security, e-commerce, digital technology, healthcare, renewable energy and telemedicine, to name a few. In many cases, a number of existing jobs have continued across these areas with temporary employment increasing for many other persons.
Opportunities are also emerging for IPAs during and post-COVID-19, where staff can enhance or retool their skills. Several agencies are offering online training initiatives including courses in communication technology systems, as well as new investment promotion trends and tools.
It is clear that IPAs will become even more relevant to governments during and beyond the pandemic. Providing effective aftercare services, and particularly the roles of support and facilitation will be critical in seamlessly assisting businesses with their continued operations and future expansion, which in turn will get economies back on track. Life after COVID-19 should see these businesses refocusing and investing once again, bringing much needed foreign direct investment to Latin America and the Caribbean. IPAs will therefore need to be prepared and many of them, including Invest Barbados, have already started the process by being proactive and innovative in their efforts.