“And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” – Exodus 35:31
As we plan for the Caribbean recovery process after the devastation of “World War III”, otherwise known as the COVID-19 pandemic, let us be inspired by the potential that lies in the archipelago of the islands and coastal communities in and bordering on the Caribbean Sea.
Even though the mix of resources varies from country to country and in the Diaspora, the one resource to be found in abundance in each country is talent, in the areas of academia, art, business, culture, innovation, literature, music, problem-solving, public speaking, science, sport, and vision. In the Caribbean, intrinsic creative intellectual genius abounds.
How can we leverage the plethora of potential talent, in the region and Diaspora, and create wealth?
Nearly 20 years ago, I was invited to Michigan State University to give a lecture and lead seminars on the topic: “Addressing Caribbean Economic Issues through Innovative Holistic Capital Partnership Initiatives”.
The book for the course was “The Mystery of Capital” by Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto who, in strong opposition to the popular view that success is determined by cultural differences, finds that it has everything to do with the legal structure of property and property rights. He hypothesized the need to nurture the system that allows people everywhere, including the poor, to mobilize their collective savings, acquire personal and real property, and transform it into wealth for their countries.
My thrust then, as it is now, was to propose a vehicle which couples a private sector carriage as the engine of growth with a public sector wagon, in the form of a user-friendly enabling environment, to create wealth for people everywhere.
Here is a five-point plan to leverage Caribbean talent and create wealth:
1 – Learn. Enhance the social partnership practice and “The Mystery of Capital” concept to leverage talent to create business enterprises, make profits, generate savings, acquire personal and real property for talented Caribbean people and wealth for their countries.
2 – Document. In the same that we survey the onshore and offshore fields of oil and gas, assess the potential of the blue economy, engage in land use plans, and assess the potential of renewable energy sources, we need to document an inventory of Caribbean talent at home and abroad.
3 – Transform. Even though talented persons are very impressive in terms of the delivery of their talents for public assumption, they often have no idea how to package their individual talents as successful business endeavors which have the potential for export to the global market.
4 – Convert. Transforming talent into a business idea is only the beginning. The individual needs to be shepherded (life coaching and business mentoring) to avoid obstacles on the way to business success and profitable commercial realities.
5 – Investment. The wealth creation strategies include a mix of savings, stocks and real estate to build equity for the talented individual. The amalgam of wealth creation of talented individuals redounds to the benefit of the nation.
Let us all be inspired to make the post COVID-19 economic recovery and growth experience the best that it can be.