Marks laments region’s underperformance in technology, science

JAMAICA’S permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) Audrey Marks has lamented the underperformance of Latin America and the Caribbean when it comes to harnessing the power of technology to move their economies forward.

“When we measure innovation and the contribution of science and technology to our economies, current outcomes and global surveys and data do not look very favourable,” Marks, who is also ambassador to the United States, said.

She was addressing the OAS Inter-American Council for Integral Development Regional meeting at the OAS on Tuesday.

“The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index, the Global Innovation Index… the Development Bank of Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank, UN ECLAC, all confirm that Latin America and the Caribbean are underperforming on innovation in comparison to the size of the economies, assets and capabilities available in all our countries,” she is quoted as saying in a release from the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, DC.

“We are off the grid from these global surveys and benchmarking processes. In fact, our region is lagging behind developed countries and other emerging countries around the world,” Ambassador Marks bemoaned.

She told the OAS that while all may agree on what the priorities are, as well as the approaches, agendas and methodologies, “we lag behind in implementation, things are not happening, at least not at the pace or with the visibility we would like to see.

“We are at a critical moment in our hemisphere and our world,” she declared.

According to the release, Ambassador Mark’s comments came against the background of Jamaica’s hosting of the Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Science and Technology in November 2020, under the theme ‘Harnessing the power of Transformative Technologies to Drive our Communities Forward’.

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The Jamaican OAS envoy observed that “the convergence of transformative technologies presents significant opportunities and challenges for our region to ensure that our people and communities are not excluded from the potential opportunities arising from the jobs of the future.

“In fact, we face a unique scenario that requires us to design and implement new policies and programmes that address historic gaps, not only in technology and economic opportunity, but across the social fabric of our countries,” she pointed out.

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