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Annual meeting

Caribbean Policy Dialogue on Innovation, Science and Technology: "Rethinking Productive Development Policies for the Caribbean

Date: 29 Apr 2015 to 30 Apr 2015

Time: 8:00 AM

Location: BRIDGETOWN, Barbados

Context:

Low productivity growth seems to explain the relative stagnation of the Caribbean’s GDP capita over time, particularly when compared to small countries outside the region. Ruprah, Melgarejo and Sierra (2014) relate this low pattern of productivity growth to, on the one hand, a regulatory and institutional environment not supportive of competitiveness, and on the other, to a fragmented, domestic-oriented and not very dynamic private sector. Low productivity growth is not unique to the Caribbean. IDB research has shown that low productivity growth accounts for most of the GDP per capita growth gap of the entire Latin-American and Caribbean region with respect to the US (IDB, 2010 and 2014).

Faced with the pressing need to turn around this trend, the IDB has recently concluded extensive research to understand what kinds of policies can effectively boost productivity in the Latin American and Caribbean region (IDB Rethinking Productive Development, Development in the Americas 2014, http://www.iadb.org/en/research-and-data/dia-publication-details,3185.html?id=2014 ). The research used the best available data and a common methodology to answer the question of how the hemisphere can rethink its approach to stimulating productive transformation. It focused on modern policies towards innovation, improvement in human capital, entrepreneurship, clusters, internationalization, and active public and private collaboration, as well as on how to measure the impact of these policies on economic development. This fresh perspective departs from the traditional approach of import substitution, state-owned companies and subsidies as triggers of productive transformation. In this respect, this research can be very relevant in suggesting new approaches to tackle the persistent question of economic development in the Caribbean, a region facing a critical growth juncture requiring new approaches.

Objectives :

To share with the region’s main public and private stakeholders new perspectives on productive development policy and instruments, and engage them in a discussion about how this thinking can propel the Caribbean countries on a different growth path.

A Regional Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation Workshop will be convened to discuss how to reshape productive development policy in the Caribbean in Barbados on 29 and 30 April 2015. The event will use the findings of the IDB’s “Rethinking Productive Development” 2014 volume as a backdrop against which to discuss the issue of productivity, competitiveness, technology and innovation in the region. The event will include presentations on productivity growth trends in the Caribbean, lessons learned from Bank instruments to stimulate productivity and innovation, as well as Caribbean-specific research and experiences on productive development, including Compete Caribbean as an example of a productive development program.

The event will take place over two days, with two slightly different audiences. The first day will present guiding principles to design impactful productive development policies, and engage in a discussion of how these principles can be applied in the particular context of the Caribbean. The second day will take a closer look at instruments that the international experience and the IDB have found to be effective in stimulating productivity and innovation, illustrate their application with specific examples in the Caribbean, and engage the audience in a discussion of whether and how these instruments could be more widely used.

Target Audience :

In the first day the event intends to engage high-level government officials and their technical counterparts from economic Ministries from throughout the Caribbean region, as well as representatives from the international donor community, Universities and the private sector. In the second day, the audience will be more targeted to technical level representatives from the Ministries invited to attend the event.

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