ROAD TOWN, BVI–October 20th, 2020–Premier and Minister of Finance, Andrew Fahie chaired the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Development Partner Forum.
The virtual forum was held on October 14; under the theme, “Investing in Higher Education to build more Diversified and Resilient post COVID Economies.”
Premier Fahie chaired the forum in the capacity of Co-chair of the ECLAC’s Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC).
He said, “We have successfully partnered to agree to focus on investment in higher education as a key component of rebuilding and retooling our human capital to thrive in the post COVID-19, knowledge-based digital economy.
Fahie said, “The Caribbean’s most valuable asset is its people; and it is our investment in them that will make the difference in our recovery from COVID and in our longer-term development.
“However, we need economies of scale for the maximum impact of any investments made in higher education. The region will be best served if our institutions of higher education and development partners all work together.”
“I believe this is the only way the Caribbean will emerge stronger from this crisis, with more diversified and competitive economies and more sustainable and inclusive societies. We must strive for the innovation and social and economic dynamism that our societies are capable of,” he added.
Speaking directly to his colleagues he said, “We simply cannot afford to standby and lose the hard-won economic and social gains that took decades to achieve. We have to act. We have to be bold in taking the necessary steps to build our resilience as Small Island Developing States and to strengthen our ability to bounce back from crises.
“However, we cannot do this alone. We need partners who can work with us, not just in the short-term, but over the long-term as we seek to build back better from COVID. I am pleased to see that we are moving in this direction.”
Other speakers at the forum include Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley; Deputy Director, Caribbean Sub-regional Headquarters ECLAC, Vice Chancellor, The University of the West Indies, and President of Universities, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Dr. Dillon Alleyne, Representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank, Matias Busso and Julian Messina, World Bank representative Mr. Shawn Powers, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. Natalio D. Wheatley and ECLAC representative, Diane Quarles.