Prime Minister Harris Welcomes Attempts to Further Diversify the Federation’s Economy
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, April 28, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said that his Government continues to explore alternative means of diversifying the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis, noting that it is imperative, based on the challenges experienced over the past year as a result of the significant economic impact posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Harris, who was at the time speaking on the weekly Leadership Matters programme on Tuesday, April 27, said that while it is difficult in a small island state to follow multiple economic pathways, tourism is the mainstay of the economy.
Looking at the broad field of tourism, the honourable prime minister said there are ample opportunities within this sector that allow for diversification.
“Education tourism has become a big thing for St. Kitts and Nevis. In Grenada, it is estimated that education tourism – the offshore university – contributes surprisingly 25 percent to the economy. That is huge and that is significant. Here we have Ross University as the main provider of offshore education of high quality within the Federation and that is a significant part of the efforts at developing the offshore education sector on St. Kitts and Nevis. We have to ensure accreditation standards are well-placed, well-developed, and are effective in implementation so that we can attract other institutions of higher learning,” Prime Minister Harris said.
According to Prime Minister Harris, the agricultural sector, for which the Government has injected significant amounts of stimulus support, is still one that holds great potential for the overall future growth and sustainability of the nation’s economy.
He added, “For me part of it really is for crops, livestock, and fisheries to contribute more to food security, reduce significantly our imports of fresh produce into the country by having that done locally, create employment, and incomes for persons residing here and that for me is going to be critical.”
Moreover, Prime Minister Harris identified the film industry as a new market that – with the right effort and collaboration among all relevant stakeholders – holds significant benefits for citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We were lucky this year, as a result of our safety track record to have attracted seven movies to be done here in our Federation in one year and we want to build upon that for next year and going forward, as a result of the lessons we would have learnt, put more resources in place for us to become one of the premier destinations for movie making,” Dr. Harris said.
The medicinal cannabis industry, which the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is currently exploring, is another example of a sector that holds tremendous economic potential for the twin island Federation.