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Statement from Caribbean Development Bank President

President of the Caribbean Development Bank, Wm Warren Smith, PhD., CD

Since 2013, CDB's Annual Meetings have been conceptualised under the broad umbrella of the Caribbean Growth Forum, with its emphasis on removing the constraints to dynamic growth in the Caribbean region.  Increasingly also,  the Annual Meeting has been directing closer attention to the Region’s commitments under the Sustainable Development Agenda and Caribbean imperatives to realise the goals set to be achieved by 2030.
The four main events for each of the past five Annual Meetings have been closely integrated; and the subject matters - debt, climate change; green growth; the blue economy; energy; road safety; public private partnerships; tertiary education, transportation, youth and youth unemployment; tourism; building social resilience; building resilient cities - have led to increased focus on the main constraints to Caribbean growth and development as well as the policy imperatives.  At the same time, the Governors Roundtable offers Governors an opportunity to consider strategic shifts which can equip the Bank to play a more pivotal role in assisting its BMCs to redress the constraints to growth.
The theme of this year's Annual meeting is “Transformation”.  It represents a logical extension of and progression from the 2018 theme when the emphasis was on resilience-building.  Building resilience to climate change and other external vulnerabilities is an imperative if the Region is to make significant strides in ending poverty; but realising this goal, also calls for the pursuit of a comprehensive set of transformational strategies that cover all areas of human activity; challenge existing social values and norms; and lead to, at times, radical changes in attitudes, behaviours and belief systems.
The Twentieth William G. Demas Memorial Lecture will be held on the evening of Tuesday, June 4 in the Auditorium of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. 
The findings and recommendations of related CDB-financed studies will be presented during three seminars - From Vulnerability to Resilience: You Choose;  Agriculture: A New Paradigm; and A Digital Caribbean.
The theme of the Vybzing Regional Youth Outreach Programme (Vybzing 2019) is Youth-Led Innovation, Regional Transformation. This year’s expanded programme is the Bank’s response to feedback received from the youth across its Borrowing Member Countries.  Participants in Vybzing 2019 will engage in dialogue with CDB and create innovative solutions to the Region’s critical development challenges.  I invite you to view these solutions during a guided tour of the Youth Innovation Vision Wall, which will be on display during the Meeting.
We thank the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago for hosting this year's Meeting, and we look forward to seeing you in Port of Spain at what promises to be another stimulating and enjoyable Annual Meeting.