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Downtown Turnaround ‘Key Catalyst’ For Growth

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The government’s renewed focus on reviving downtown Nassau will be “a key catalyst” for economic growth, a prominent investment banker has predicted.

Michael Anderson, Royal Fidelity Merchant Bank & Trust’s president, said the redevelopment of Nassau’s cruise port and harbourfront will create significant investment opportunities for Bahamians once these projects come to fruition.

He told Tribune Business: “I think that there are lots of opportunities with the new downtown cruise ship port and the associated change along the harbourfront.

“The downtown redevelopment has been on hold for many years. For the first time there is a lot of activity around it that would seem to indicate that would be the next major change to take place. I think that becomes the new area of innovation.”

He added: “With the government’s decision on the port, and setting up height restrictions, [it] creates a brand new opportunity for a load of different investors. I see that as being a key catalyst to the growth in the economy growing forward.”

RoyalFidelity is the local financing partner for Cruise Ports International, the Bahamian investor group that has partnered with four cruise lines - including the two major players, Carnival and Royal Caribbean - to submit a bid to take over the management and operation of Prince George Wharf. They face competition from two rival bids.

The investment bank, meanwhile, is set to host its 2019 Bahamas Economic Outlook on February 26. “We have what we think are topical issues globally, and the most relevant issues we can bring to the awareness of Bahamians here such as nationalism, which is driving a lot of change in Europe, immigration issues as well as Trump and the whole idea of America first,” Mr Anderson added.

“We are looking at some of the innovations in biogenetics, and also the potential implications for humanity as we go forward. We are also looking at the world economy. There are a lot of new threats that can derail the global economy. There are challenges, threats and opportunities.”

Noreena Hertz, economist and author, will be the conference’s main speaker. Her presentation, The five forces of disruption and how to navigate them, will focus on the key geopolitical, economic, societal, demographic and technological forces that are transforming the world.

Other speakers include biotechnology futurist Jamie Metzel; University of Oxford professor, Ian Goldin; digital revolution journalist, Andreas Elkstrom; and Mark Matthews, professional surfer, Red Bull athlete and motivational speaker.

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