CDB inspires Barbados’ youth to innovate, help transform local economy

On Wednesday, September 23, the Caribbean Development Bank, CDB, joined Barbados’ Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth for a consultation with more than 75 young people from the island’s schools and community organisations.

The National Youth Consultation is part of National Youth Week, a calendar of activities from September 20-26, 2015, designed to celebrate and empower youth.

Dr. Kari Grenade, Economist, CDB, was part of an expert panel handpicked for the event. The young people in attendance heard presentations from the group, which included Hon. Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, and had the opportunity to ask questions on the topics discussed.

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Members of the panel, left to right: Hillary Austin, Senior Youth Commissioner (Ag.); Hon. Stephen Lashley, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth; Juanita Brathwaite, Senior Psychologist, Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation; Cheryl Willoughby, Director, Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit; Dr. Kari Grenade, Economist, CDB.

Dr. Grenade’s presentation included insights on youth unemployment in the Caribbean, and suggestions for beating the odds in a Region where one in every four young people is jobless. She highlighted findings from Youth are the Future: The Imperative of Youth Employment for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean, a study which CDB commissioned.

“Joining the youth of Barbados for this consultation is an opportunity to share important findings from the study, which can provide valuable signposts to both policy makers, parents and young people,” said Dr. Grenade. “CDB works with countries to improve the delivery and quality of education, and we encourage initiatives that inspire youth to become more employable—to innovate and build skills, particularly in emerging, in-demand sectors,” she said.

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Dr. Grenade, Economist, CDB, during her presentation at the National Youth Consultation.

In his remarks, Minister Lashley also addressed youth unemployment and solutions for tackling the issue as many Caribbean nations, including Barbados, seek to transform their local economies.

“As we continue to grapple with fiscal deficits, our young people have to be transformative,” he said. “The decisions you make today will be critically important as to what role you play in the sharing of wealth,” he told the young people, emphasizing that innovation and technology must be at the core of any national dialogue on youth.”

The National Youth Consultation was held under the theme, “Barbadian Youth: All Ah We Influencing Change,” at Radisson Aquatica Barbados.


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Dr. Grenade presents Akelia Selman, a student at St. George Secondary School, with one of the giveaways CDB made available to attendees at the National Youth Consultation.

View Dr. Grenade’s Presentation

View the CDB infographic on youth unemployment