From a Bahamas government press release:

NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is predicting an infusion of some $18 billion in investments in the Bahamas, Minister of Financial Services and Investments the Hon. Vincent Peet said.

“But that figure is relatively conservative when compared to the Ministry of Finance’s calculation of approximately $24 billion,” he told participants at the 2006 annual Local Government Conference at the Wyndham Nassau Resort, Monday, November 27.

The seminar drew Local Government officials, Councillors and Administrators from throughout The Bahamas. They sought to devise strategies to meet the government’s obligations in establishing anchor projects in the Family Islands.

According to The Central Bank, the financial services sector’s contribution to the Gross National Product in 2005-2006 was 15-20 per cent, Mr. Peet said.

“In terms of Foreign Capital flows resulting from anchor projects and other major projects at various stages of implementation,” Mr. Peet said, “the figure totalled over $20 billion.
“Liquidity as measured by available loan able funding in the system is also at a fairly high level of approximately $200 million and interest rates are relatively low with the prime rate pegged at 5.5 per cent.”

The country has embarked on a “remarkable transformation to become both a global financial centre and an investor-friendly jurisdiction,” the Minister said.

Since May 2002, the Ministry of Financial Services and Investments has received 430 projects for consideration.

Of that, 48 of the approved are under construction and 192 are at various preparatory stages.
Approved projects include:
· Kerzner International Phase III, which will provide 1,700 permanent jobs for Bahamians in January 2007;
· The $1.3 billion Albany Resort is expected to create approximately 1,100 full-time permanent jobs upon completion in the fall of 2008;
· The $250 million International Marina in Chub Cay, Berry Islands which will provide 400 permanent jobs;
· The $1.8 billion I – Group of Boston project in Mayaguana, the first joint venture agreement project will provide employment for 100 Bahamians;
· The Ginn $4.9 billion project in West End, Grand Bahama will create 3,700 permanent jobs for Bahamians.
“These projects will not only provide significant employment opportunities for Bahamians, but they allow for the restructuring of communities, infrastructure development, the building of schools, new and expanded healthcare facilities, airport terminals, police, immigration and customs facilities, opportunities for entrepreneurship and on-going training for Bahamians,” Mr. Peet said.

It is the opinion of international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and Standards and Poor that the Bahamas has experienced a rebirth in its economic development, and this development has and is expected to be fuelled by foreign direct investments, the Minister said.

To further capitalise upon the lucrative opportunities provided by foreign direct investments, and to provide equal opportunities for Bahamians to enjoy a ‘slice of the economic pie,’ the government created the Domestic Investment Board (DIB), Mr. Peet said.

The DIB functions as a “One Stop Shop” for Bahamian investors to receive advice and information on how to plan a business, developing business plans and become knowledgeable about the business environment.

The DIB can also assist in accessing funding for projects through the Bahamas Development Bank, the Bahamas Government Loan Guarantee Programme and the Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund, the IDB and commercial banks, the Minister added.

“To date, the DIB has already received over 40 projects totalling $1 billion with requests for general business advice, business advice on marketing, funding, loan guarantees, foreign partnership opportunities, private/public sector partnership and acquisition of crown land,” Mr. Peet said.