Industry, academic partnership can deliver economic growth — Sir Hilary
A partnership between The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the private sector in the Caribbean can help deliver economic growth in Jamaica and other countries in the region, the vice chancellor of the UWI, Sir Hilary Beckles has said.
Addressing a recent breakfast forum hosted by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Sir Hilary said that “in every sector, the UWI has the capacity, the science and technology required by the private sector to perform at the highest levels of efficiency and productivity”.
“An industry/academia partnership is critical to moving the Jamaican and Caribbean economies into “full wealth creation mode,” he declared.
Referencing the vision of the Economic Growth Council (EGC) towards the achievement of five per cent growth in Jamaica’s gross domestic product within four years, he said that “there is no reason why Jamaica could not attain ‘5 in 4’, though there are some social constraints that make it difficult. We must identify these and remove them to align to growth.”
Pointing to the university’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022, Sir Hilary said that “the solution to the sluggish economies of the region is in the alignment of The UWI’s capabilities and private sector resources”.
In this regard, he said one of the initiatives being pursued by the university is the establishment of a series of technology parks in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago, which will bring “The UWI’s expertise in the areas of science, technology and innovation to work with the private sector to test and develop products for commercialisation and export.” This, he said, is part of a wider effort to partner with the private sector to find solutions to problems and apply innovation to industrial development.
Sir Hilary said that The UWI had already established a branch of the university in China at the Global Institute for Software Technology (GIST) — the feeder university for the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park —China’s version of Silicon Valley.
GIST has also established a branch at The UWI and the first generation of Caribbean students are already enrolled in programmes at The UWI, Cave Hill and Mona, which will see them studying for two years at The UWI and two at the GIST in Guangzhou.
Sir Hilary said that “The UWI/GIST partnership creates a pathway into the Chinese technology world which will be of immense benefit in meeting the needs of the Caribbean.”
“Our graduates can become incubators for small and medium enterprises, and The UWI will bring the science and technology, the private sector the capital, and together we will forge economic growth,” Sir Hilary declared.