Each year the IDB group gathers international thought leaders and high-level policy-makers from the Caribbean region. The Annual Consultation of Caribbean Governors, as it is called, is an opportunity for 6 Ministers of Finance and Planning from the region and 1 representative from the Caribbean Development Bank to engage influential leaders on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. The goal of this engagement is simple: to find innovative solutions to the development challenges in the Caribbean region. This style of engagement is in line with the IDB Group’s efforts to challenge norms governing how we assess and resolve our most pressing problems. The two-day meeting offers a place for thought provoking presentations and discussions, but ultimately it is an opportunity for ‘The Influential Seven’ to tangibly improve the lives of Caribbean people.
This year’s theme “Exponential for Resilience” builds on the work done in previous years’ strategic consultations. In 2018, the consultations with Governors focused on digital transformation, which was preceded in 2017 by an examination of the rubric of governing to deliver. This year’s meeting is shaped to tell the story of major relevant economic development initiatives. Specifically, we will ask the question of what the Caribbean can learn from Amazon’s search for a city in which to locate its 2nd headquarters. The idea is to use this recent case study to examine the roles played by public, private and academic partners and identify lessons for the Caribbean. In this regard, the involvement of Professor John Agard, Director of the St. Augustine Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (STACIE), University of the West Indies, is important. It is hoped that he will help guide, not only the discussion during the event, but also thinking on what actions this type of activity to generate in the Caribbean development space. We expect that this session will spark a lasting conversation about how innovation can attract investment, spur job creation, and transform education for resilience.
Other topics on the discussion table relate to creating the Caribbean Workforce of the Future and Revenue Administration in the Digital Era . Wary that newer technologies are transforming traditional industries; the Caribbean workforce of the future will need to be prepared. To achieve success, public policies and training programs will have to be oriented to respond to the needs of both the private and public sectors. In this respect, public policies and the training programs will have to be implemented by applying disruptive technologies and with the active involvement of academia.
We are also discussing how emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain can be deployed to improve revenue administration in the Caribbean. It’s expected that the application of these and other technologies will improve revenue administration for not only Caribbean governments, but also for taxpayers in the region.
‘The Influential Seven’ will take this opportunity to discuss recent and emerging strategy initiatives and relevant corporate matters being undertaken by IDB Group. It is hoped that these exchanges will strengthen capabilities and relationships to maximize benefits to the region.