Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2021. 3:44 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Consultant and former politician Stephen Harper discussed the “disruptions” to Western democracy and the impact on global business at the opening of today’s Investment Summit in San Pedro Town.
Harper observed that the two main trends politically at the moment are the uprising of “extremist” political movements – populist and nationalists, on one hand, neo-Marxists and democratic socialists on the other – and the rise of China as a global superpower.
These, he predicted, will cross each other, and especially the latter, the one-man rule of Xi Jinping notwithstanding.
What about Belize? Harper said Belize’s strengths include both natural beauty and protection and the risk of attracting high-end economic tourism, as well as the potential to serve as a relocation spot for professionals, which he said should be complemented by Belize’s education system – training Belizeans for the new economy.
Belize, he proposed, should also embrace more technology – to be “digital-first” in the region in key areas of governance and business.
He counseled that to be a “Singapore or Dubai,” Belize must plan and be grounded in that plan, and play to our strengths, including our geopolitical position at the crossroads of North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Further, he pointed to the viability of public private partnerships for infrastructure, the need to secure energy sources, and – heralded by the Blue Bond Agreement – revising our banking and financial regulations to be even more in line with the region.
Harper praised Belize as a stable and democratic country with a positive outlook on business, especially with respect to the worth of the private sector.
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