Like a lot of the Caribbean, the island nation of Grenada has suffered an unprecedented blow to its financial system this 12 months as tourism disappears. Grenada is nearly completely reliant on tourism, with the sector accounting for almost 50% of the nation’s gross home product (GDP). Within the first half of 2020 alone, the drop in tourism instantly precipitated a 5.5% drop in GDP.
Grenada additionally struggles with a weak enterprise surroundings and labor market, as a lot of the native inhabitants lacks entry to schooling. Lately, unemployment reached practically 25%—earlier than the onset of COVID-19. Because the local weather shifts, the nation additionally faces quickly fluctuating climate circumstances, affecting agriculture in addition to tourism. Excessive climate, together with hurricanes, has taken a serious toll on the financial system lately. In 2004, the damage from Hurricane Ivan was equal to twice Grenada’s GDP.
Grenada has struggled to deal with financial shocks, from COVID-19 to hurricanes, due to issues with sustaining funding. The nation has already taken on emergency support from the Worldwide Financial Fund (IMF) equal to almost half of its GDP losses this 12 months. Grenada’s prime minister, Keith Mitchell, just lately asked for a moratorium on debt funds from the nation’s personal collectors to keep away from a repeat of 2013, when the federal government defaulted on its debt funds for the second time in 10 years. The pandemic has made it clear that Grenada is in dire want of accountable, revolutionary buyers and entrepreneurs looking for to assist remodel the society and financial system.
However Grenada has managed to draw a number of key supporters who see the nation’s potential and are dedicated to giving native communities the instruments to reinforce their livelihoods. Amongst them is the group behind Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture, led by sustainability entrepreneur Soren Dawody. The initiative is a public-private three way partnership beneath Grenada’s Citizenship by Funding program, which facilitates giant overseas investments to spice up native economies and grants citizenship to buyers in alternate.
Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture’s main venture is a sustainable shrimp farming initiative that goals to equip native communities with sustainable livelihoods primarily based on a priceless trade that’s ripe for export. The initiative companions with Grenada’s authorities in addition to native communities to deal with sustainability, each for the financial system and the pure surroundings.
Not solely is the venture predicted to be worthwhile, however its low footprint additionally means native residents should not displaced or adversely affected—which is usually the case with large-scale improvement initiatives in contexts like Grenada. The island nation’s authorities has already positioned an emphasis on this mannequin of improvement, by plans to turn into a “blue innovation” hub by constructing an financial system round its ocean and coastal ecosystems.
The aquaculture venture, particularly, exemplifies the kind of sustainable improvement wanted in Grenada due to its management. Dawody is an skilled entrepreneur working on the intersection of social impression and environmental sustainability. Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture, his newest venture, displays charitable and impact-focused management, in addition to a philanthropic approach to accountable funding.
The corporate strives to enhance meals safety and defend the surroundings, by its sustainable industrial shrimp farming for export. The initiative’s revolutionary method goes past widespread issues with industrial shrimp farming reminiscent of environmental air pollution and financial instability, placing the deal with the wants and capacities of native economies.
Whereas tourism and actual property are the first drivers of the nation’s financial system, Dawody believes that aquaculture is the important thing to diversifying the nation’s sources of earnings and assist, whereas enhancing Grenada’s status as a secure and sustainable meals exporter. To attain stability and advance the prospects for its native financial system, Grenada additionally must put money into innovation and capability constructing. Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture’s mannequin, for instance, eliminates the necessity for handbook labor. As a substitute, it incorporates key roles for native staff in biology, expertise, and operations. Investments like Dawody’s shrimp farming initiative will create jobs and lift the typical wage in Grenada, whereas additionally guaranteeing its buyers are dedicated to their native companions by granting them citizenship.
Grenada’s authorities estimates that the nation’s GDP might contract by as a lot as 10% over the course of 2020. Because the native financial system struggles as to whether the impacts of the pandemic, sustainable funding, and strategic partnerships are more and more essential. No matter how lengthy the pandemic lasts, the nation can now not rely upon tourism for income and job alternatives. To make sure the nation’s future, Grenada wants supporters and personal sector leaders, like Soren Dawody, who’re devoted to constructing options that work for native economies and the surroundings.