10am - 11:30am

President's Chat

Jun 18, 2021

When the Caribbean Development Bank was established in the 1969, its mandate was advancing the economic growth and development of its Borrowing Member Countries and advocating for economic cooperation and integration with particular attention to the less developed. Under the visionary leadership of Sir Arthur Lewis, the Bank set out on an evolutionary path to not only accelerate the economic development of Caribbean states but also improve the living standards of the region’s people.

Now, more than half a century later, the institution has transformed in response to the varying needs of its clients. Countries who, have now been impacted by economic events and adjustments, natural disasters and not one but two global pandemics.  For our President’s Chat we are joined by Past President, Professor Dr. Compton Bourne who served the Bank from 2001 - 2011 (who joins virtually), and incumbent Dr Gene Leon in a ground-breaking event. We will examine, in a meaningful way the individual eras represented and the unique circumstances faced by each as well as how lessons from the past can help us face the future.

Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon
President, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)

Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon is the sixth President of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the regional development finance institution based in Barbados. He was elected at a Special Meeting of the CDB Board of Governors held on January 19, 2021 for a five-year term, and assumed office on May 4, 2021.

Dr. Leon has over 30 years of experience in economic development and has directed macroeconomic and financial policy support to government authorities in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, and the Caribbean.  He worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for more than 24 years, serving as Mission Chief for Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, The Bahamas, and the Gulf States of Oman, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates, as well as IMF’s Senior Resident Representative in Jamaica and Nigeria.

Prior to his engagement with the IMF, Dr. Leon was an Associate Professor at State University of New York at Old Westbury in the United States. He has also served as Director of Research at the Central Bank of Barbados and Country Economist at CDB.

Dr. Leon holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom (UK) and a Bachelor of Science Degree (B.Sc.) in Economics from the University of London also in the U.K.

Professor Emeritus of Economics, St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies

DR. COMPTON BOURNEAcademic economist, Dr. Compton Bourne, served as the fourth President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) from 2001 to 2011.

With a professional career focused on academic economics; public policy and institutional management, Dr. Bourne occupied various management positions with the University of the West Indies (UWI), public sector institutions and a private corporation.

Immediately prior to his appointment to CDB, Dr. Bourne served as Principal of the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. He was also the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development and Deputy Principal of the St. Augustine Campus. Dr. Bourne held offices with several professional bodies including the Caribbean Studies Association, Caribbean Agro-Economics Society, Advisory Board North American Economics and Finance Association, Caribbean Academy of Sciences and the UNESCO Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He is a Member of the Order of Excellence, the highest honour of the Republic of Guyana, and is a recipient of the Caribbean Studies Distinguished Service Award, The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Caribbean, and the National Coalition on Caribbean Affairs International Service Award.

Dr. Bourne has been an active contributor to public economic policy in the Caribbean, Africa and the Philippines. He is the author or editor of ten books and special issues of journals, as well as the author of 58 published technical papers. A former Director of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Bourne is a graduate of the University of London, the University of Birmingham and the University of the West Indies.

He is currently Professor Emeritus of Economics at the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies.

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