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.
About the Growth and Resilience Dialogue:
Following the decision of the ECCB Monetary Council at its 86th Meeting held 21 October 2016, the first Growth Dialogue was held on 1 March 2017 with social partners from across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). Held under the theme: Working Together to Achieve Higher and More Inclusive Growth in the ECCU, the forum provided a unique opportunity for civil and social partners to dialogue with the ECCB Monetary Council on matters of growth in the ECCU.
Since its inception, the initiative to institutionalise the process to forge consensus through a Growth and Resilience Dialogue has evolved with the main goal being to address growth, competitiveness and employment in the ECCU in a sustainable manner.
In addition to the ECCB Monetary Council, participants include: Parliamentary Opposition leaders, representatives from the business sector, civil society, churches and youth groups, as well as representatives from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The forum is held annually at the ECCB Headquarters and forms a critical part of the growth agenda of the ECCB and its strategic partners: the CDB and the OECS Commission.