Anguilla’s blue economy is indistinguishable from its growth agenda and is seen as an important channel to sustainable and inclusive growth, and also progressing to the sustainable development goals. This paper articulates the ambition for being a blue economy and provides a situation analysis of the existing barriers to blue growth and explores the opportunities that can be exploited and have a positive impact on both society and the environment. Policies exist to stimulate growth in this sphere but there needs to be greater intervention by the Government of Anguilla to promote a culture of technology adoption and innovation to improve the viability of operations and thus, livelihoods.
As a large ocean territory, Anguilla’s blue resources are the greatest of its natural endowments. The Territory can be successful in growing its economy with shrewd and prudent management of its blue resources. The analyses of the main drivers of blue economy development highlight significant resource gaps. Therefore, there will need to be a heavy reliance on capital inflows to address the gaps that jeopardise sustainable growth. Access to grants and concessional financing that can be directed towards projects in the blue economy is a threat, particularly as an Overseas Territory. The fiscal impacts for the process of transitioning will impose pressures on public spending and will need to factor building resilience ex-ante and ex-post, the paper presents appropriate solutions and risk transfer instruments. Conversely, the increase in economic activity will have a positive impact on public revenue and measures must be put in place to prevent the Dutch disease phenomenon.
Standards, specifications and incentives are key components of reforming industries, along with the necessary capacity and skill development. The policy framework and regulations that create standards for enterprises and the protection of ecosystems also require a great deal of attention, harmonisation and cooperation from the players. Accessible and affordable education and training must be integral in the process.
The comprehensive listing of recommendations extends from the short- to long-term. Further the paper presents principles that usually guide blue economy development which requires substantive reengineering on Anguilla’s part. Consideration must be given that there may need to be a measure of flexibility in the recommendations. Additionally, it must be cautioned that there can be a delay between action and effect; and policy makers as well as the people of Anguilla would need to exercise patience in the process, yet maintain confidence along the transformational journey.
About the BANG Task Force
In February 2021, the Blue Anguilla (BANG) Task Force was established by the Ministry of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce, Information Technology and Natural Resources. According to its Terms of Reference, the purpose of the BANG is to
harness economic growth opportunities for Anguilla from our marine resources, specifically economic benefits in the areas of fisheries, aquaculture, transport, tourism, renewable energy and ocean biotechnology/bio-prosperity
The BANG is also tasked with balancing economic benefits, geo-political interests and safety with sustainability for meeting the broader goals of growth, employment generation, equity and wise use of environmental resources in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Terms of Reference outlines the following responsibilities of the BANG Task Force which it is expected to undertake from February 2021 to December 2023 in the first instance:
Facilitate the collaborative development of Anguilla’s blue economy in the areas of:
- Offshore fishing
- Renewable energy and energy efficiency
- Waste management
- Climate change; and
- Conduct and facilitate research on national, regional and international requirements, best practice and innovation in the development of blue economies.
- By 31st July 2021, develop a blue economy position paper which must include a situation analysis along with recommendations to Executive Council regarding the steps Anguilla needs to take for development of the blue economy.
- Subject to Executive Council approval, by 30th November 2021, develop an action plan with a budget for implementation of the recommendations.
- Oversee the implementation of the action plan and act on the findings or outcomes thereof.
The BANG Task Force is chaired by the Permanent Secretary Economic Development and comprises representatives of the:
- Department of Natural Resources
- Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications, Utilities, Housing &Tourism (Transportation Department, Energy (Public Utilities) Team and Maritime Department)
- Department of Environmental Health
- Ministry of Tourism
- Anguilla Fire and Rescue Service
- Ministry of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce, Information Technology and Natural Resources
- Anguilla Community College