All over the Caribbean region, countries have made a decision: The traditional staples of the region's business community - tourism and commodities such as coffee, sugar cane, and tobacco - aren't enough anymore for stable, growing economies. They are opening their borders to foreign investment by liberalizing trade, passing laws to modernize accounting and financial reporting, privatizing government-held industry, and establishing tax breaks and other incentives.
What this means is that the Caribbean paradise of lush tropical jungles, white sand, and crystal aqua waters is now a paradise for business, too. Here are reports from three of the region's rising economic stars.
Fast becoming the economic star of the Caribbean
Candidates for president in the Dominican Republic don't usually make campaign stops on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. This island nation of 8.5 million people has, in modern times, been leery of foreign economic involvement. Until now. Times have changed enough that the two leading candidates for the Dominican presidency - Danilo Medina and the eventual winner, Hipolito Mejia - made pilgrimages to Wall Street, the epicenter of the world's capital markets.
The candidates' visit, sponsored by Tricom, S.A., the country's only NYSE-listed company, was symbolic of the country's recent efforts to diversify its economy beyond the traditional staples of tourism and commodities like sugar and tobacco. "Tourism is still important, but the leaders of the country know that to have stability and growth, the economy must be diversified," says John Schroder of Ascot Advisory Services, a Santo Domingo-based firm that offers investment and consulting services for companies doing business in the Dominican Republic.