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St Helena : St Helena Economic Development
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 06.02.2012 (Article Archived on 20.02.2012)

This week is the third interview of a four part series ‘In the Know with the MOU’ which aims to inform our readers about the progress made on each of the ‘big’ reform areas under the MOU; Immigration, Land, Economic Development and Institutional Arrangements.

Economic Development


 


This week is the third interview of a four part series ‘In the Know with the MOU’ which aims to inform our readers about the progress made on each of the ‘big’ reform areas under the MOU; Immigration, Land, Economic Development and Institutional Arrangements.


 


Number three in the series is the latest update on Economic Development. We caught up with Julian Morris, Chief Executive for Economic Development to tell us more.


 


A draft Economic Development Plan (EDP) 2012/13 -2021/22 is currently out for public consultation and the focus of the EDP is to set out at a practical level, what needs to be done to ensure that the Island exploits the airport opening, and that Saints have the future they want.


 


The umbrella of Economic Development is about ensuring that the Island is ready when the airport opens and exploits the opportunities that will arise with the building of an airport.


Julian explained:


 


“The EDP ensures two things:


1. that Saint people and businesses take up all the numerous opportunities that will make St Helena a more attractive place for investors and visitors to experience and,


2. That the envisaged major tourism development projects do happen


 


“The EDP is designed as a practical blueprint for implementing these. We have looked at the existing work that has been done and used those as foundations rather than starting from scratch.”


Once the consultation finishes funding will need to be sourced to create a single purpose organisation that will make sure the EDP is implemented.


In setting up this organisation Julian wants as much input from the public as possible, particularly from the private sector.


 


He added:


 


“The EDP is private sector rather than Government led as the Government cannot offer opportunities such as hotels, restaurants, retailing, visitor experiences and taxis etc, all of which are done by the Private Sector.


 


There is an urgency to implement the plan by 1st April 2012 as there is only three years and 10 months left to get the Island ready for air access.


Since the positive airport announcement there has been an increase in the number of people wanting to invest.


 


Julian explained that so far there are three categories of investors:


 


1.     People on island in business looking to buy sites to expand their businesses for warehouses, restaurants, self-catering,


 


2. Saints Overseas looking at ‘new to St Helena’ business activities and,


3. Off Island Parties looking at potential Tourism sites


Speaking with Julian:


 


How can St Helenians take advantage of the opportunities for economic growth during the airport construction phase?


 


“In terms of Basil Read getting the airport as ‘Saint Built’ as possible and looking for people to work on this, their preferred way is sub-contracting.


 


“However Basil Read are also looking for 40 houses to let, which will be income for the Saints. Basil Read will also potentially be improving these properties, as well as paying rent.


 


“The company is very interested in working with people to increase their individual skills although here people will need to be flexible as, Basil Read are not offering long term contracts, but the skills they will be teaching will benefit Saints in the long term and Saints should take advantage of these.


 


“Other services that Basil Read will be looking for will be in catering, transport, mechanics etc and there are a wide range of opportunities available with having extra people on the Island; some of course will be indirect income through shops, restaurants, video hire etc.


“There is not a single sector on the island that will not receive a huge boost in their economy.”


 


Personally how do you feel about what has happened so far and what lies ahead?


 


“I feel very positive about the prospects of the Island.


 


“What is required is attainable and in global terms is not huge although in St Helena terms are a huge change. The biggest challenge is changing the mindset of the Government and Private Sector to be able to fully exploit this remarkable opportunity that the airport will bring.”


Strategic Policy and Planning Unit


1 February 2012


 

 

This article is the Property and Copyright of Saint Helena Herald.

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