The Cayman Islands placed first in the category of economic potential, and fourth in the category of overall country, in fDi Magazine’s Caribbean and Latin American Countries of the Future rankings.
The publication reported in its August/September issue that Cayman also placed in the top 10 in the labor environment, business friendliness and foreign direct investment strategy categories.
FDi’s Countries of the Future series compares the investment attraction capabilities of cities or regions and notes the investment projects recorded in each. Cayman was one of 29 countries reviewed for the Caribbean and Latin American report.
The economic potential category was based on macroeconomic data, including gross domestic product, exports, imports, population and unemployment, as well as inward foreign direct investment levels and projects.
Cayman saw a 200 percent increase in foreign direct investments, according to the report, albeit starting from a comparatively low level. In addition to its tax advantages, the ranking noted Cayman’s aim to diversify its economy away from its strong dependence on financial services and tourism.
It specifically mentioned the launch of Cayman Enterprise City, a knowledge-based special economic zone, which since its inception has attracted more than 50 companies.
Wayne Panton, minister for financial services, investment and commerce, said being recognized as an attractive location for investment by a credible source such as fDi Magazine, a division of The Financial Times, is positive news for Cayman.
“Rankings are just one factor among many that an investor considers, but results like these often serve as a starting point for companies that are thinking about establishing businesses in a new location, and strong placements positively position Cayman in the minds of the important decision makers,” he said.
As benchmarking also helps a country to identify areas for improvement, Mr. Panton said he welcomed the opportunity to use the results to assess what Cayman needs to do to further strengthen its FDI strategy and business infrastructure.
Ryan Rajkumarsingh, acting director for the Department of Commerce and Investment, the economic development agency responsible for attracting appropriate inward investment into the Cayman Islands, said Cayman’s competitive ranking as an attractive investment location boosts the department’s regional and international promotional efforts.
However, Mr. Rajkumarsingh noted that successful location visits, and his department’s close interaction with potential investors throughout all the phases of the business establishment process, are the factors that can seal the final investment decision.
He pointed to major entities like Health City Cayman Islands, Dart Realty and Cayman Enterprise City as evidence of the territory’s ability to attract large-scale investments that generate jobs and contribute to a vibrant, diversified economy.
Costa Rica retained its top ranking in the region in terms of the country’s ability to attract foreign direct investment. Nearly one-fifth of all FDI investment projects in the region were made in Costa Rica, fDi magazine noted.
Panama and the Dominican Republic placed second and third in the rankings, followed by the Cayman Islands. The development of the Panama Canal and the 2012 enforcement of a free trade agreement with the United States were the main factors affecting Panama’s placement.
The Dominican Republic attracted 50 percent more foreign direct investment in 2013 compared to a year earlier.
Other countries highlighted by the report included Barbados for its investments in human and social capital through the provision of free education and Trinidad and Tobago for its cost-effectiveness. As a result, Barbados ranked first in the Best Labour Environment category and Trinidad and Tobago topped the Best Cost Effectiveness table, followed by El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Cayman did not place in the top 10 in these two categories, as well as the infrastructure ranking, which included factors such as Internet speeds, telecommunications growth and transportation hubs, including ports and air connectivity.