Transformation taking root in the Caribbean — Carib Development Bank

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Dr William Warren Smith told the closing session of the bank's recent meeting in Trinidad and Tobago that transformation was taking root in the region “and we are seeing signs of it beginning to blossom”.

He said it was therefore necessary for the various strategies to be adopted to develop the talent and possible future of the region's young people, adding that the “challenge for us is to facilitate and nurture this growth”.

The CDB president stated: “Can we then recover from the missteps of the past? Can we promise this generation and the ones that come after that their future will be a sustainable one and that they will enjoy a legacy of prosperity?”

He said in proceeding to deal with the situation, he was heartened by the clarity of thought and guidance that came from meeting participants, adding “there is common acknowledgement that the development equation in our region has become more complex.

“But there is also the same understanding that that equation is soluble,” he said making reference to digital transformation, which he described as “indispensable” and “will change the way we live, consume and produce.

“Harnessing digital power is equivalent to securing our future. We must put our youth in the driver's seat and at the centre through high quality and equal access to education”.

Smith said that the private sector, particularly the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, has to be crowded into the development narrative in a way that is sustainable.

“The role of institutions like CDB is to provide the right incentives so that fledgling entities can find their feet, mature and flourish. This cycle must be repeated until we have a critical size market that demonstrates dynamism and competitiveness,” he added.

The CDB president said that the environment also has to be taken into consideration and that “green” growth that is inclusive is not an option but a necessity.

Warren Smith said strengthening regional implementation capacity is an imperative for the bank's successful engagement in the region, saying it speaks to the heart of development effectiveness and also impacts the institution's bottom line.

“Going forward, therefore, greater emphasis will be placed on addressing the bottlenecks to implementation, whether institutional or legislative. Strengthening country planning systems in a way that supports improved long-term development planning that is conducive to growth is critical,” he said, adding “collectively, we can and will overcome this problem”.

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