Remarks by Denise Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative
Official Handing over of the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 Pandemic on MSMEs in The Bahamas
9 February 2022
- Senator the Hon. Michael B. Halkitis, Minister of Economic Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate
- Ms. Cora Colebrook, Permanent Secretary, Minister of Economic Affairs
- Ms Davinia Grant, Executive Director Small Business Development Centre
- Mr. Mathew Aubry, Organisation for Responsible Governance
- Other Partners and Stakeholders
- UN Colleagues
- Members of the media
UNDP is honoured to present the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 Pandemic on Micro, Small and Mid-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Bahamas. The Impact Assessment was commissioned by UNDP’s Multi Country Office in Jamaica and our Crisis Bureau SURGE Data Team, working in partnership with the Ministry of Finance of The Bahamas, the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), and The Organization for Responsible Governance which conducted the study.
As the UN Agency focused on recovery and building forward better in any post disaster context, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to complete this report in 2021 which offers key insights on the impact of both disasters on the MSMEs sector. The SEIA was grounded on empirical data informed by both primary data collected from over 480 MSME owners and secondary data from previous studies completed locally and regionally. Most importantly, using UNDP's Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI), the Report includes an in-depth analysis ranking vulnerability based on 12 indicators. The MVI scores offers a more nuanced and holistic analysis of the impact of the hurricane and pandemic crises of the MSME sector in The Bahamas.
The report also provides detailed, disaggregated information on the socio-economic impacts on MSME products and services, sales and financial performance; business inputs and hours and COVID 19 adaptations and adjustments; and an assessment of the efficacy of post Dorian and COVID support interventions on MSMEs. Recommendations for policy development focus on improving resiliency, social and economic recovery and mitigating the impact of future crises on the sector.
For SIDs like The Bahamas, heavily reliant on tourism, the impacts from Hurricane Dorian and subsequently the COVID 19 pandemic to MSMEs highlights a Human Development crisis, affecting our ecosystem, environmentally, economically and socially.
However, previous studies conducted by UNDP’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Team confirmed that an empowered MSME sector can support a faster and more equitable recovery in post disaster periods. This is why support to MSME sector must be deliberate for sustainable recovery. UNDP remains committed to bolstering the resilience of this important sector.
We look forward to working with the Government on the proposed recommendations outlined in the report, as we continue to strengthen our partnership and support to The Bahamas to move forward, upward, onward together. Thank you.