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Jamaica’s PM Urges Speeding Up Investment in the Markets and Jobs of Tomorrow

Prime Minister, Andrew Holness - Jamaica
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness

[WASHINGTON, DC] –  To get our fair share of the new digital economy jobs, “we must accelerate our investments in the markets and jobs of tomorrow. In order to remain relevant and compete in the 21st century global economy, we have to fundamentally transform ourselves.”

Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, gave that charge to the hemisphere’s ministers. In addition to top science and technology officials. They were gathered for the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Sixth Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities on Science and Technology. The session wrapped up Wednesday (December 8). Wrapped after adopting the Declaration of Jamaica: “Harnessing the Power of Transformative Science and Technologies to Drive our Communities Forward”.


The Declaration of Jamaica will be the framework to advance results-oriented cooperation. Including science, technology and innovation in the Americas for the 2022-2024 period. The Declaration reflects member states’ commitment to “accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, reduce the widening technological and social gaps, and pursue a sustainable, green, resilient and equitable future.”

The document also made an urgent call to deepen regional collaboration and cooperation to ensure connectivity for all in the Americas. As a result, close the widening technological and social gaps exacerbated by the pandemic.  Specifically, with a  focus on ensuring the inclusion of youth, women, rural, remote and indigenous communities. As well as populations in vulnerable situations.

OAS Youth Academy Launched

At their two-day Meeting, the science and technology minister of the Americas also launched the OAS Youth Academy, a platform for training and certification to prepare young people for the jobs of the future.

In addressing the launch, the Jamaican Prime Minister said the region’s efforts “must focus on equipping our young people with the necessary skills to harness the power of transformative science and technology to collaboratively propel our communities forward.”

Ambassador Audrey Marks, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the OAS.
Ambassador Audrey Marks, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the OAS (Derrick Scott Photo)

Ambassador Audrey Marks, Permanent Representative of Jamaica  to the OAS, declared the high-level Conference open, in her capacity as Chair of the OAS Inter-American Council for Integral Development, which was responsible for mounting event. She welcomed Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the science and technology ministers and officials. Marks was pleased that Jamaica was hosting this important meeting.

Important of STEM
Jamaica's Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz
Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s Minister  of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz,  presided as Chairman of the two-day high-level meeting.  He applauded the OAS initiative, commenting that “science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are crucial to bridging the digital divide and as a priority, should promote the inclusion of women and girls, rural and indigenous communities, and other populations in vulnerable situations.

“Likewise, effective public-private-academia collaboration is necessary to enhance competitiveness and quality of life,” Minister Vaz told the officials from OAS member states, experts and academics engaged in discussion and the sharing of good practices on the issue of improving young people’s skills.

The science and technology officials also looked at readiness for industry 4.0, technology foresight as input for policy decisions, active participation by micro, small, and medium enterprises in the global economy through science, technology and innovation, and effective public-private-academia collaboration to enhance competitiveness.

Highlighting the relevance and contribution of this initiative, the OAS Secretary General, Luis Almagro, said that “while COVID has accelerated the digitization process of the economy, it has also worsened inequalities and widened existing gaps.” He argued that “many have been left out, with no or little access to connectivity and the skills needed to benefit from the digital economy. We are looking forward to working with member states to make the Youth Academy on Transformative Technologies a cornerstone of COVID recovery.”

The OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development, Ms. Kim Osborne, touted the concrete results of the meeting:  “We are looking forward to working with member states to train 10,000 youth by 2024 through the Youth Academy. If one lesson is clear from the COVID-19 experience, it is the need to support those most affected by the pandemic. Including students in lower socioeconomic status, women, minorities, and less-skilled workers.”

Final Outcome

Another key outcome of the Ministerial was the announcement of the first two Centers of Excellence on Technology Foresight. Additionally, a Center on Excellence on Blockchain in the State of Hidalgo, Mexico; and a Center on Robotics and A.I. hosted at Universidad Simon Bolivar in Barranquilla, Colombia. Part of the OAS Network of Prospect Americas, these Centers will promote cooperation in research. In addition, engage governments, the private sector and the scientific community of the OAS member states. In which they will identify and map future trends and technological developments. Plus, provide insights and inputs for the formulation of public policies.

South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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