Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Strong public sector key

A strong public sector in each country throughout the Caribbean region is key to effective development.

This is the suggestion of Louise Clement, Minister Counsellor (Development) and Canada’s Director to the Caribbean Development Bank, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). She was in Barbados for the opening of the Caribbean Development Project’s Leadership Development Programme, being held at the Cave Hill School of Business this week.
Minister Counsellor (Development) and
Canada's Director to the Caribbean
Development Bank, CIDA, Louise Clement. 
Some of the participants gathered at the opening
of the Leadership Development Programme.
In explaining the value of strong leadership in the public sector in relation to development, Clement referred to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012/2013, which notes that the outlook for the world economy remains fragile with global growth remaining historically low for the second year running. She explained that the report names inefficient government bureaucracy as a problematic factor for doing business in several Caribbean countries, adding that government attitude towards markets and freedoms and the efficiency of its operations is very important.

“Excessive bureaucracy and red tape, over regulation, corruption, dishonesty in dealing with public finances, lack of transparency, inability to provide appropriate services for the business sector, and political dependence of the judicial system impose significant economic costs and slow the process of economic growth,” Clement said.

She further pointed out that CARICOM countries continue to face significant economic challenges which limit growth and contribute to disparities among Caribbean states.

“Some of the challenges include high debt, among the highest in the world, undiversified economies and slow progress in achieving regional integration, which is essential to create large markets and economies of scale,” Clement mentioned.

There lies the importance of the seven-year, twenty-million-dollar Caribbean Leadership Project and the ongoing Leadership Development Programme, which has been designed to strengthen the next generation of Caribbean leaders in the public sector across the region.

“The regional and national public sector and the quality of its institutions and human resources have a significant role to play in achieving progress on regional integration and economic development. No other group has a greater collective impact in the daily lives of citizens than the public services, as Caribbean countries face challenges of high debt loads, changing market forces and natural disasters,” Clement said.

She added that the Caribbean Leadership project is providing unique opportunity for the region to have this conversation and to create solutions and approaches tailored towards meeting the region’s needs. (AN)

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