SVG needs a new economy for the new generation. Our economy is weak and outdated, and the ULP regime has not only failed to create a service sector, but they have even failed to create a manufacturing sector.
We have a new generation of Vincentian children born and grown in an era of computer and information technology. This is the generation of Vincentians who are most likely to create technology startup businesses that are knowledge industries.
However, there is no knowledge industry or service sector in our economy. There is no foundation upon which technology startup businesses could start and trade. Our country still lacks the infrastructure needed for a strong service sector.
A well-known example of a modern economy based on thriving knowledge industries and a strong service sector is Singapore. Singapore is full of technology and knowledge businesses.
Singapore’s economy was built upon a world-class education system that has been relentlessly funded by its government as its top priority. Singapore focused on educating its people, so that they would have a highly-educated workforce.
They also set up rules of law and governance that are transparent and non-corrupt, and that attracted a lot of direct foreign investment including industries. And Singapore is ranked as the most attractive country for foreign investors in the Asia-Pacific region and attracts 52% of foreign investment in its region.
Singapore created a new economy for its new generation very shortly after independence in the 1960s. Now, Singapore has the highest percentage of millionaire households as a share of a country’s total households at 15.5%; Singapore topped the charts for highest GDP per capita in 2010 at close to EC$152,636 and is expected to continue to be the global leader until 2050; Singapore has a GDP of about EC$810 billion; Singapore has a very low unemployment rate of 1.9%; more than 70% of Singapore resident non-students aged 25-34 have a university education.
An important factor for economic success in SVG, is free, high-quality education from pre-school to university. Having a highly educated population will create economic growth and improve our country. It will help us build a service sector of knowledge industries and that would attract foreign investment.
At the moment, the SVG economy is virtually dead. Vision is needed to transform our economy and make our graceful country a leader, and not a follower.
Since 2001, there has been a lack of vision by the Gonsalves regime. Many business people have told Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, that the ULP regime is out of its depth and that they are disappointed with the ULP regime, as it has been a big failure.
According to Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, who has a BSc (Hons) degree in Accounting and Finance and Economics from Brookes University, Oxford, England, we cannot build a knowledge industry sector without providing a world-class, free, education system from pre-school to our own university.
We must urgently change direction from negative thinking to positive development. The new generation of Vincentians needs a new economy and better infrastructure in order to create and grow technology startup businesses.