Global Citizenship for a Sustainable Economic Future
Caribbean citizenship by investment (CBI) programmes are among the best in the world. With the option of investing in real estate or contributing directly to national foundations and trusts, qualified applicants can be granted citizenship in as little as 90 days. Owing to its simplicity, low cost, vast global mobility and quality of life, Grenada’s CBI programme was last year ranked first globally.
CBI programmes benefit the Caribbean economy
A recent Fortune article claimed individuals spent nearly $2 billion in 2014 on CBI programs, contributing millions of dollars to the Caribbean economy.
A significant percentage of the millions generated by such programmes are used to fund various development initiatives across a range of sectors through such enterprises as the St Kitts & Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation, designed to help the government transition from sugar as the main industry to a more diversified economy.
To apply for CBI in Grenada, for example, investors must contribute a minimum of $200,000 to its National Transformation Fund. The NTF finances various projects in Grenada for the benefit of its many industries, including tourism, agriculture and alternative energy.
As discussed by leading global real estate experts Kingsland Global, a common reason countries have increasingly introduced CBI programmes is because of an economic slowdown and “the virtual disappearance of traditional funding sources.”
Meanwhile, Dr Anthony, former Prime Minister of St Lucia, cited “the persistent decline in foreign direct investment caused by the world financial crisis” as the grounds for his government deciding to initiate a CBI programme.
The programmes generate investments and jobs to and put countries the road to sustainable growth and development. Such programmes have become an economic lifeline in these nations, raising substantial revenue for the governments concerned.
For St Kitts & Nevis, the program generated nearly a third of the government’s revenue in 2015—approximately $74 million—and became so successful that St. Kitts emerged from the global financial crisis far ahead of its neighbours in the Caribbean. “It’s been a complete transformation,” says Judith Gold, head of an International Monetary Fund mission to the country. That’s no exaggeration—in 2006 the government had been the third most indebted on earth.
In Dominica, $279.8m in revenue was realised in the financial year 2015/2016. Funds have allowed for post-tropical storm Erika rehabilitation works, including the rehabilitation of Douglas Charles airport.
The benefits of CBI haven’t gone unnoticed: In 2014 alone, new citizenship and residence programmes were introduced in Portugal, Cyprus and Greece that either allow direct citizenship by investment or offer alternative routes to citizenship for wealthy investors in the EU.
Long term gains
Since 2006, programmes have matured owing to international agents ensuring probity and insurance of commercial sustainability. Today, Citizenship by Investment programmes facilitate long-term investment and residency to bring long term gains for local economies.
According to CS Global Partners, it’s a means of transforming economies to become ever more prosperous and independent. “The NTF finances various projects in Grenada for the benefit of its many industries, including tourism, agriculture, and alternative energy. Having made a donation to the NTF, investors are left with a true sense of having contributed to their new nation’s well being.”
More than that, CBI-funded initiatives are in the rare position of being able to operate as debt free businesses going forward. This is a major economic sustainability factor.