PM: Caribbean countries not spending 1% of their GDP on R&D

Dr the Right Honourable Keith C Mitchell, Prime Minister

Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell is of the opinion that ICT techniques, methods and practices are yet to seriously impact the fragile economies in the region. Dr Mitchell is the Prime Minister responsible for Science and Technology within CARICOM.

Expressing his concern about the slow growth of ICT within CARICOM compared to the rest of the world, he told participants at the opening of a one week workshop on Technopreneurship in Tobago, that there has been an increased growth globally in the ICT industry, but this level of growth is yet to be experienced in the region.

“We are yet to be impacted upon in any substantial manner by the major platform technologies that are transforming the world of today. And maybe therein lies our problem and our salvation. ICT usage in the region is far from stagnant, but it is far from optimised,” Mitchell said while using biotechnology as an example. “In the case of biotechnology, there are in the region applications in horticulture, aquaculture and agriculture in general, where we are producing pest and disease-free bananas. But we need to do more.”

Appealing to CARICOM countries to develop strategies and programmes that will foster technoprenuership in the region, Dr Mitchell believes the region needs to embrace frontier technologies to put the region’s fragile economies on a more solid footing.

“You, the techno-entrepreneurs of tomorrow, must not only become fully acquainted with these technologies but also with their potential in your business venture,” the Prime Minister said. He expressed his concern that Caribbean countries have not been spending one percent of their GDP on Research and Development, as recommended for the developing world.

The workshop was organised by the International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation (ISTIC), an UNESCO centre based in Malaysia, CARISCIENCE, an UNESCO affiliated organisation based in UWI, Trinidad and The CARICOM Science, Technology and Innovation Committee.

Topics covered in the workshop which concludes today, Friday 9 May included: Writing a winning business proposal, Intellectual Property Issues, and Branding and Marketing. Participants represented Argentina, Brunei, Ecuador, Nigeria, Pakistan and CARICOM countries.

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