Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is looking to Africa and the Pacific for new growth prospects for artists and designers from Barbados and the rest of the region.
She made her intentions known on Saturday night while attending a fashion show in Nairobi, Kenya where young fashion designers got the opportunity to show off their creations for delegates from the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations.
Asked by the organisers to speak to the audience, Mottley said: “For a very long time we have seen the benefits of cooperation with the ACP and EU for our designers and creatives, and indeed, Caribbean Export has been doing an excellent job in creating that platform for our artists and designers.
“We hope that we can now create the logistical framework that will allow the trading to take place, so that we don’t only marvel at the beauty of the designs, but that we can ensure that the economics that will support the sale of the designs can make the businesses sustainable.
“This is part and parcel of what this expression and the showing of the work of the designers is about, but we need now to popularise it and ensure that access to working capital is always there for our artists.”
Mottley explained further: “The fact is that most of our artists don’t have the collateral to go and access funding from the bank in order to be able to expand production. So we have to have showings such as this to ensure that we have other investors come on board, but also create the markets…
“Our own people from Barbados are excited about it and I know we are also excited to see what else we can take from Africa into the Caribbean because there is a strong sense of African awareness — African style, African music, African food, African designs.
“The truth is, we are now only coming home to each other and discovering each other in ways that matter and we need to be able to give our people choice. I hope that the ACP partnership can create that platform.”