CDB president wants Caribbean institutions to advance regional development agendaThursday, June 24, 2021
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — President of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr Gene Leon, has proposed the formation of a regional action group, combining the strengths and capacity of key regional institutions to drive the Caribbean's economic and social development agenda.
“We can benefit from combining our strengths to provide leadership, advice and influence that can drive the agenda. I see this as a key element that we need to move the region forward,” Leon said.
Mapping out a pathway for progress during the inaugural hosting of “The President's Chat” that formed part of the CDB's 51st Annual Meeting, Leon spoke of the region as an ecosystem where collaboration and integration are required elements.
He said that the action group should include the Caribbean Community (Caricom) because of its reach and the trade dimension; CDB with its focus on development policy and financing; and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) because of its broader political mandate for economic cooperation among its members.
He said the University of the West Indies (UWI) would also be required to provide the educational element that will bridge the skills set required for future growth as well the central banks as financing institutions and because of the payment systems.
The newly appointed CDB President also said it was important to include representatives from the private sector in the action group.
“We have to embrace the share to grow mentality. We cannot continue to behave as little atoms. We have to see the integration of the region as an essential element for moving forward,” Leon said, advocating for increased collaboration in the region.
Former CDB president, Professor Compton Bourne, who also participated in the discussion, noted that both resilience and integration are essential to overcoming external economic shocks and those deriving from natural disaster.
He said, although such events cannot be prevented, the economic structures can be built to moderate the impact of these occurrences and the region should refocus from relief and recovery to building structures that minimise vulnerability to shocks.
Bourne also cited the need for budgetary resources to contain provisions for ameliorating the harmful effects of hazards on vulnerable people.