Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley says the Virgin Islands (BVI), as part of diversifying its business services and sectors, will be looking to tap into the African business market, starting with South Africa as a new prospect.
"One of the things that Premier [Andrew A. Fahie] has dedicated himself to doing is trying to diversify the economy as much as possible, so we're not only diversifying our economy but diversifying or markets in the same. So coming up in the next few days we will be travelling with the IFC [International Finance Centre] and we are going to be doing an exploratory mission to Africa," Hon Wheatley said on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.
Huge Potential in Africa
The Minister was at the time speaking on public radio, ZBVI 780am with Claude O. Skelton-Cline on the 'Honestly Speaking' show.
"The African market is a huge market, basically untapped by us," he pointed out while noting that the Virgin Islands will explore all avenues to tap into the continent's business sector.
"We are big in international finance, but we mainly deal with the European and North American markets, and we are saying to ourselves why don't we just look a little wider afield... what about Africa? Africa is doing a tremendous amount of business that we could be getting a piece of that pie."
Rebranded from the BVI International Finance Centre in 2005, BVI Finance is the voice of the Virgin Islands’ financial services industry; marketing and promoting its products and services, as well as managing its reputation as an offshore financial centre.
Further, according to Hon Wheatley, starting with South Africa, the plan is to meet with business leaders in the country to bring awareness to the services being offered by the Virgin Islands.
"One of the things we are also trying to do is to create business tourism. We want folks to understand [that] not only is the BVI a good place to do business but a great place to also visit," he said.
"That's why you see we're doing so much work keeping our environment pristine, doing the beach policy," Hon Wheatley noted.
Over the years, the VI has established itself as the leading provider of offshore financial services through business-friendly regulatory regime and environment. The territory has also maintained a heightened presence at conferences and trade events in core and emerging markets.