CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) in partnership with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and The World Bank welcomed a wide network of regional social partners to the 4th Growth and Resilience Dialogue on February 13, at the ECCB headquarters in St Kitts and Nevis under the theme Regional Transformation Through Innovation.
The one-day event featured expert panellists from the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s (ECCU) member governments, multilateral institutions, civil society, churches, youth and the private sector and sought to devise concrete actions for addressing constraints to growth, competitiveness and employment.
“The Growth and Resilience Dialogue with Social Partners is not intended to be a talk shop, rather, it is intended to be a meeting of the minds of our social partners from which will flow clarity, consensus, collaboration and collective action on our regional transformation agenda,” governor of the ECCB, Timothy Antoine, said during the opening ceremony.
“We cannot change our history, we cannot change our geography but we certainly, collectively, can change our trajectory. Our theme for the dialogue this year, ‘Regional Transformation through Innovation’, is inspired by our empowering realisation that we have the keys to unlock our growth potential and propel our social economic transformation for shared prosperity,” Antoine asserted.
This year’s discussions focused on the transformational changes to the digital economy, renewable energy and payment systems.
“Growth, we have become painfully aware, is not being sustainably achieved by doing more of the same. In a historical era in which so much is changing so fast, the race really is for the swiftest and the agile. Our best prospects for growth lie in the transformative and not the evolutionary; the scale of opportunity is optimised in the regional and not the national; and innovation is not simply a technology thing but equally a mind-shift thing,” director-general of the OECS, Dr Didacus Jules, said in his opening remarks.
“The ECCB and the OECS Commission collaborate closely on this agenda because we are both created to serve the same fundamental purpose – the integration of these small islands,” Dr Jules added.
The two institutions have also partnered with The World Bank and OECS Member States to launch a major digital transformation initiative within the region.
“I believe the biggest equalizer today is technology and the digital agenda. Whether you are a small state or a big state, whether you are a developed country or a developing country, that is the biggest equalizer and it is a major pathway to jobs and to growth,” World Bank Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed, noted in her opening remarks.
“This is a change that is happening as we speak, so for this region embracing the opportunity of the digital revolution is really a key priority,” Sayed said.