The UWI and CDB sign historic MoU

Formalising their longstanding relationship, which spans several decades, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Friday, October 19.

The MoU supports a stronger partnership between the Bank and the University on programmes and projects, and is focused on promoting institutional strengthening and evidence-based decision making for economic and social policy issues relevant to the Caribbean region.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Bank’s headquarters in Barbados, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles described the CDB as a valued partner in advancing the development of the region, which is the primary mandate of the University. He said, “It is undeniable that this region is currently faced with fundamental issues of inequality, economic growth, technological advancements, democracy and social justice. At this moment the Caribbean region demands sustainable, regional solutions, birthed out of partnerships such as this one. In the conceptualisation and implementation of its current strategic plan, deemed The Triple A Strategy, The UWI’s mandate focuses on Revitalising Caribbean Development. The MoU signed today re-emphasises our commitment and dedication to advancing the well-being of our Caribbean people.

CDB President, Dr. Wm. Warren Smith, hailed the agreement as a vital step, which will allow for deeper collaboration and cooperation on critical issues facing the region. “With the signing of this MoU, we are cementing almost 50 years of collaboration and cooperation, broadening the strategic focus of our collaboration, and creating new pathways for deepening our relationship. CDB is energised by the opportunities it presents for knowledge-sharing, research and innovation, and is pleased to partner with The UWI in this enterprise. We look forward to strengthening our decades-long partnership and to taking our collaboration to even higher levels for the benefit of our Region,” he said.

The MoU covers shared priorities such as promoting youth development and community inclusion through sport, improving implementation capacity and developing joint training and educational programmes. CDB and The UWI have ongoing partnerships that support the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, including projects in areas such as climate adaptation and mitigation, gender equality, and education and training. In 2013, the Bank approved a USD13 million project to support the expansion and rehabilitation of The UWI’s Open Campus locations in Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It also invested in the development of UWItv and in 2018, approved funding to enhance The UWI’s new Faculty of Sport.

The MoU is also significant as The UWI celebrates its milestone 70th anniversary. Given its position as a global university rooted in the Caribbean with established centres in North America, Asia, and Africa, The UWI is intent on fostering Caribbean-focused partnerships like this one with the CDB as it seeks to maintain its leadership role in supporting the development of competitive Caribbean economies.