Much like the rest of the world, Curaçao has had to devise a post-COVID-19 economic plan to tackle the grave economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 crisis. With tourism – one of the island’s main economic pillars – paralyzed, the future of its oil refinery precariously hanging in the balance, and its public finance balance, that had already been floundering in recent years, now reaching critical mass, the island’s future prospects are not looking very rosy at the moment. Public officials will need to be bold in their approach to move the needle on Curaçao’s economic woes and that is why Curaçao’s Ministry of Economic Development (MEO) has decided to take this moment to design Curaçao’s New Economy Post-COVID-19.
The economic challenges Curaçao is currently facing are not uncommon for small island developing states in the Caribbean. And many countries all over the world are also experiencing challenging times when it comes to public finances as government spending for the support of enterprises and workers has increased dramatically while their income through taxation and duties have significantly dwindled – and will most likely continue to do so.
However, many of these countries have reserves and more diversified economies, making them more adaptable to this crisis. An important objective for Curaçao is thus to diversify its economy and reduce its weak points. In countries that were better prepared, technology has played a crucial role in keeping them afloat. Not only did the pandemic have no negative impact on the tech sector, but it is actually flourishing. People continue to work and do their shopping online.
So Curaçao must embrace this sector moving forward if it wants to start making a recovery. This is a direction that Curaçao had already envisioned in its Smart Nation concept and it is also the basic precept of the National Export Strategy (NES) that the Curaçaoan government, with the assistance of the International Trade Centre, recently greenlit. Curaçao has yet to exploit the potential provided by its good technological infrastructure. And with this new export strategy, it will do so in the sectors of financial services, port & maritime services, creative industries, education services, tourism, and the information and communications technology services.
Now that the government has no other choice but to implement the NES, results will be seen in due course. Armed with this new economic structure in the making, the next global crisis will find Curaçao with a better equipped and more resilient economy.