If You Want To Know What The Future Holds, Then Shape It!

Marla Dukharan
4 min readApr 30, 2024


Photo by Keira Burton

I remember hearing this story again and again in Cayman — that historically, most of the men went to sea and the women looked after everything at home. Even today, Cayman has a female Governor, Premier and Minister of Finance, and Chief Justice. No wonder Cayman is the best run country in the Caribbean! 🤭 (I mean, there’s a lot to unpack here but, another time!) Not that Cayman doesn’t have its challenges, but on a regional scale (and I dare say even internationally) it is rare to find such a small, highly open economy, with such low debt, high living standard, and thriving private sector based on an ease of doing business and a secure environment. And apart from the historically outsized role that women have played in Cayman’s success, so has its acute openness.

In the Caribbean, we are all highly open economies; most of what we consume comes from abroad, and most of what we sell (to earn the money to import and consume) is sold abroad / to foreigners. Most of the investment in our economies has historically come from overseas. We rely on the outside world more than the domestic, but in Cayman’s case, that openness manifests in a willingness to engage with the outside world, not just in terms of trade in goods and services, but in terms of people and their expertise, ideas and opportunities. The United Nations of the Cayman Islands, where over 100 nationalities don’t just co-exist but thrive, is highly unique and is a real treasure, especially given today’s geo-political realities.

I think Cayman’s acute openness is its superpower, but also its vulnerability — because the external forces of the climate crisis and the ever-changing and unfair application of regulations, are heightening the risks to Cayman’s prosperity. Economic diversification is one mechanism to mitigate some of these risks and Cayman’s existing openness presents a meaningful path to diversification. Like those Caymanian men who went out to sea to bring back a bounty for their families and communities, Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) deliberately curates globally progressive knowledge-based industries to bring to Cayman’s shores, actively future-proofing the economy and positioning Caymanians for the next wave of socio-economic progress.


My team and I have assessed CEC’s socio-economic impact again this year, and our findings confirm that for the 12 years since inception, CEC has had a socio-economic impact approaching USD1 billion. To put this into context, this is almost the same as (92%) the value of total Work Permit fees collected by Government in the 12 years to 2022! The number of local vendors doing business with CEC has grown from 108 in 2020 to 187 in 2023 — a 73% increase in 3 years. Furthermore, CEC member companies provide high-value employment with wages exceeding those of Cayman’s labour force on average. Last year alone, Caymanians employed by CEC member companies increased by 10% y/y, while the number of Caymanians/permanent residents employed at the CEC Special Economic Zone jumped 88% (since they began tracking in 2020) to 128 in 2023.

According to the Future of Jobs Report 2023, “All but 2 technologies are expected to be net job creators in the next 5 years” and Cayman’s only “Rising Star” sector is ICT. Furthermore, the sectors with the highest social returns in Cayman are Real Estate, Financial Services, Utilities, and ICT. Fully 77% of Caymanian-held jobs at CEC member companies are in sectors with high social returns and increasing global demand. Given that CEC’s members are predominantly ICT-focused, CEC is mitigating Cayman’s socio-economic vulnerabilities by providing the platform for Cayman to compete successfully in progressive sectors on a global scale.

I think every country in the Caribbean needs a CEC; not just for economic diversification it creates, or the progressive employment and entrepreneurship opportunities it provides its people, or the USD1 billion socio-economic impact in 12 years since inception, but because CEC holds itself accountable. And in the Caribbean, accountability drives results. CEC isn’t obligated to conduct an economic impact assessment, but it does so voluntarily each year. This demonstrates that CEC takes its role in shaping Cayman’s socio-economic future very seriously, in delivering results for Caymanians now, and for the future generations to come.

The information provided by MD as part of this report and online content derived thereafter is the property of MD, and cannot be copied, reproduced, modified, republished, repackaged, posted, displayed, transmitted, distributed, redistributed or sold in any way, either in whole or in any part without the prior written permission and consent of MD.