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Building pro-growth coalition for reforms: The Caribbean Growth Forum

Andrea Gallina's picture

Nighttime in St George's, Grenada

What does it take to make reforms work in small island countries?

At the end of June 2013, twelve Caribbean countries presented a roadmap for growth in three areas -logistics and connectivity, investment climate, skills and productivity- to a broad audience of private sector representatives, international development institutions, regional organization, civil society and media. That event culminated a 7-month long phase during which policy-making was not the result of close-doors meetings, but a process of intense negotiation, consultations, and consensus building among all actors of each Caribbean country’s societies. All of which was documented in real time and in a transparent fashion by each government. Yes, business was not “business as usual”.
 
Reforms priorities were agreed and a calendar for implementation brushed on a power point slide in the wonderful framework of five stars Bahamian hotel…After the workshop lights, projects and microphones shut down, many of us went home with a familiar sound in our ears: and now what? Was it another “talkshop”?

Channeling Caribbean diaspora dollars back home

Qahir Dhanani's picture

“We have the money, but it’s just not that easy to find the deals back home.” These words, from a Barbadian entrepreneur in Silicon Valley tell the story of a successful tech entrepreneur whose family left the Caribbean almost a generation ago. They moved to the USA and over the years he was able to build a successful business based in Northern California.

Caribbean: Working together to boost growth

Andrea Gallina's picture

What is the solution to low growth in the Caribbean? That's been the question on the minds of  private sector, government and civil society representatives from 12 Caribbean countries for the last year.

They're all member of the Caribbean Growth Forum - a regional initiative designed to share experiences, ideas and expertise to promote a more prosperous Caribbean. Andrea Gallina has been coordinating the process since it launched in May 2012.

Here he explains what has been achieved so far and what the next steps are for the Caribbean.

Caribbean: Working together to boost growth

 

Caribbean women entrepreneurs: Smashing down walls to get to the top

Eleanor Ereira's picture


Women entrepreneurs in the Caribbean are breaking through the walls (Credit: infoDev)

In the last few decades, women in the Caribbean have made impressive strides to break through the glass ceiling and obtain positions of power and responsibility. In governments throughout the region, we’ve seen women as national leaders including Janet Jagen (Guyana), Eugenia Charles (Dominica), Portia Simpson Miller (Jamaica) and Kamla Persad-Bissessar (Trinidad). In addition, the region’s women are attaining high levels of academic achievement, and now there are more female than male college graduates in total. While this is all extremely positive news for gender equality in the Caribbean, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels just yet. There is still one area of the playing field that remains to be leveled, and not just in the Caribbean, which is women succeeding as well as men as high growth entrepreneurs.

Trinidad & Tobago: Stephon Gabriel wins Voices4Climate competition

Mary Stokes's picture

Stephon Gabriel was overjoyed when an email popped up in his inbox announcing he had won the World Bank's Voices4Climate competition. One of 19 winners from 14 countries, his music video 'A Changing World' beat more than one thousand other music videos, photos and videos to the top prize.

Talking after the award ceremony, the young producer from Trinidad and Tobago described how he had become inspired to write the song after seeing how climate change is already affecting his native Caribbean. It was then that the words and music began to flow as he sought to "sensitise the listener around climate change."

Caribbean growth: business as usual not enough

Andrea Gallina's picture


“For the first time, I saw that the Government was thinking about the same issues as I was. I didn’t know.”

These hotel owner’s words are characteristic of many in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. In many OECS countries, trust between the public and private sector may be at historically low levels but the implications for policy making are enormous, particularly at a time in which tough choices need to be made.

The struggle for survival for Caribbean cleantech SMEs

Eleanor Ereira's picture

They had to do something different, something memorable, which would make people realize just how tough it is for small businesses in the Caribbean to survive, “So we held a funeral”. Rosalea Hamilton, the President of the Jamaica-based MSME Alliance explained that they staged a funeral to mourn for the death of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Jamaica. The objective was to draw attention to a petition presented to the Prime Minister on ways to support the sector. As the poster for the event underscored, if nothing changed to help Caribbean entrepreneurs, their ventures were as good as dead.Life isn't a beach for cleantech SMEs in the Caribbean, which face high energy costs, lack of financing and other challenges. (Credit: Clive Gutteridge, Flickr Creative Commons)

According to Rosalea, one of the top challenges facing businesses in Jamaica is the cripplingly high electricity costs, which can account for 25% of a business’s expenses. Jamaica, along with many other Caribbean countries, is highly dependent on foreign oil. This is in spite of numerous domestic natural resources that could be used to move away from fossil fuels, such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy, biofuels such as bagasse, and waste-to-energy systems. Given the high energy prices, start-ups developing alternative energy solutions should thrive in the Caribbean. But ask regional cleantech entrepreneurs, and a different story emerges.

Latin America: are we forever at the mercy of high oil prices?

Ariel Yepez's picture

También disponible en español

 

A few weeks ago a rare storm event known as "Derecho" ravaged the Washington, DC area, claiming many lives and leaving 1.3 million homes and business without electricity. My house was unfortunately among those hit hard by the power outage and in an attempt to cope with the 90F+ temperatures unleashed by the storm, we moved down to the basement -- generally, the coolest part of the house.

For the first few days the novelty was fun for the kids, but as the days wore on, frustration grew, in part because we had no idea when the power would come back on.

Is fried chicken setting back development in the Caribbean?

Carmen Carpio's picture

The Caribbean: Are people getting sick from eating fried chicken?

We've all been there... it's lunch time, we're hungry, we don't have much time to wait, don't want to spend too much money, but want to make healthy choices. So, what are our options? Well, on a recent mission in the Caribbean the choices were fried chicken or stew with fried chicken, not many other choices.

We felt guilty because we were the health team on mission in the Caribbean conducting studies on the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and we are extremely conscious that fried chicken contains a lot of saturated fat --a contributing factor in obesity, heart disease and diabetes, which top the list of NCDs. 

We ended up swallowing our guilt and snacking on the crispy morsels of chicken anyway.

Educational Technology Use in the Caribbean

Michael Trucano's picture

new horizons in the Caribbean?Does the Eastern Caribbean education system adequately prepare youth for the global economy? This was a question posed by a World Bank paper back in 2007, which examined how some of the unique characteristics of small island developing nations in the Caribbean influence attempts to answer this question.  The use of information and communication technologies within formal schooling systems is seen by many to be an increasingly relevant -- and important -- tool to impact teaching and learning practices across the region.  In 2009 two publications from infoDev sought to document activities and progress in this area, and key policymakers from ten countries recently met in Barbados to take stock of where things stand and help chart a course for the future.

Barbados was in many ways an ideal place for such an exchange.  The country's Education Sector Enhancement Programme (ESEP -- known in an earlier incarnation as Edutech 2000) has been perhaps the most far-reaching (and expensive) initiative to explore the use of ICTs in schools in the region.


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