Inter-American Development Bank and Caribbean Export Development Agency host Policy Dialogue Print E-mail
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Thursday, 01 December 2011 00:00

The Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Export Development Agency is hosting a Policy Dialogue in Belize City on Innovation in the Service Sector in the Caribbean region.

The Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (supported by the European Union) is co-sponsoring a dialogue on the topic of Innovation in the Service Sector in the Caribbean region. This sector is the greatest contributor to the Caribbean GDP. The Dialogue will take place on December 5th and 6th in Belize City at the Radisson Hotel.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Network has been hosting dialogues since 2006. This December’s Caribbean dialogue is specifically responding to an interest raised at the most recent dialogue in June of 2011 in Washington, D.C., where IDB member countries agreed that innovation and competitiveness issues in firms might be unique when considered within Caribbean contexts.

Caribbean IDB members countries feel that since their economies are largely service sector economies, dominated by tourism, firm innovation tends to fall outside the scope of a discussion on research and development-driven innovation in manufacturing firms. IDB decided to promote this Dialogue in order to help Carribbean countries to work together to put the development of the competitiveness of the service sector at the forefront of their agendas. The network’s main goal is to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences among the IDB’s members to strengthen the capacity and innovation performance of their national economies. The network seeks to identify best practices in areas such as strengthening industry/science relationships. The IDB strongly believes that collaboration initiatives will build upon and leverage the region’s resources.

“We think that innovation in the service sector in the Caribbean is extremely important. People often think that because of its traditional reliance on the tourism industry - the Caribbean Economy is not globally competitive, but rather - it is globally dependent” said Flora Montealegre-Painter, Chief of the Science and Technology Division at the Inter-American Development Bank. “We are looking forward to exploring the issue of Innovation in the Service Sector in the Caribbean, by dedicating sessions to Innovation in Services, Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and the sustainable tourism. We hope that policy makers, who attend the dialogue will consider the array of innovation possibilities available to the Caribbean firms that wish to compete in the global market”, added Painter.

More than 50 high-level participants are expected to attend the dialogue. It will be a great opportunity for private sector stakeholders, policy makers, and multi-national institutions to come together and discuss ways in which the fruits of innovation - such as rejuvenation and product or service development - can spur meaningful economic gains throughout the Caribbean region.