As we wrap up this edition, we are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 in different parts of the world. The global lockdown has had a huge impact on our local business community, especially our accommodation & food service industry, real estate activities, arts, entertainment & recreation, and transportation sector. Industries have become increasingly more aware of the need for business model innovation and online accessibility.

The nature of work here and globally, the required job, talent, and managerial skills have all changed, and continuously keeps changing at lightning speed. The technological innovations (such as 3D printing, cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, crowdsourcing, internet of things, robotics, biotechnology) are the real drivers of change. For some, this has regrettably caused business disruption resulting in painful closures and loss of jobs. For others, new opportunities have opened requiring adoption of new technology and a collaborative attitude to join other like-minded entrepreneurs, while combining efforts and complementing each other’s products and services. One thing is sure, each one of us needs to be proactive and supportive.

As the Chamber, we continue to take steps in line with our published 2019 white paper “Ban Sembra Awe pa Kosecha Mayan” (Let’s sow today, to reap tomorrow). In addition to our main industries, we need to take strategic bets and support sectors with great potential such as our software & IT sector, knowledge-intensive business services, and transnational education activities. Curaçao is gearing up to invest in qualitative technology and execute a targeted immigration policy. Besides connecting to the world, technology also propels creativity, productivity, and direct foreign investment attraction. Each one of these strategic bets, if consistently aligned with sustainability, will safeguard sustainable growth, attract professionals and innovative investors.

Another example of connecting our population to global resources and possibilities is the development of a tailor-made English language curriculum in partnership with the Government of Curaçao, the U.S. Consulate, various school boards and educators. Ultimately, a state-of-the-art educational system will trigger an upgraded productivity and competitive position of our youngsters and labor force. Enhancing the qualified and skilled human resources of the country will allow our citizens to capture available job opportunities resulting in sustainable economic development and improve the level of well-being of our people.

As a final point, the transformation your business underwent and is probably still going through should not be in vain. Use this time to build resilience in your business: act decisively, empower employees, and collaborate more with others. It could create a synergistic impact bringing greater value to your customers both locally and overseas. Achieving an effective successful business is attainable for those with great energy, strength of character, the ability to adapt, and willingness to take prompt, right actions.

With a concerted effort and personal investment from each one of us, we will achieve a prosperous economy. Will you join us?

Billy Jonckheer
President Curaçao Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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