The XXI century coined as the age of informational society is often characterized by a high level of connectivity between groups and individuals, a constant flow of information but more importantly by the high economic value attached to information data, and knowledge.
By contrast with the developed nations, which have accumulated knowledge and technologies and have also succeeded in capitalizing on this knowledge in order to secure their economic growth and social stability, the developing nations can be defined as those who are challenged by the access to existing knowledge, the difficulty to gather data and produce context specific knowledge and ultimately translate this knowledge into innovation and the development appropriate solutions.
As an indication, of the four Caribbean countries represented in the Global competitiveness report 2010-2011, two (Trinidad-and Tobago and Barbados) have reached the second stage of development, Efficiency driven economies. A diversity of factors contribute to their respective ranking at the 84 and 43rd places but in terms of basic requirements the quality of their infrastructure appears to have played a role.
According to the World Bank knowledge can act as a “The driver of competitiveness and productivity, as a facilitator of welfare and environment [thus defining a knowledge economy as] “one in which the generation and exploitation of knowledge has come to play the predominant part in the creation of wealth”.
“Building Knowledge Economies. Advanced Strategies for Development”,
World Bank Institute Development Studies 2007 Washington, D.C.
It is therefore critical that we share the lessons of experience acquired regionally and internationally in order to ensure that Caribbean cities play their part in the region’s economic competitiveness and thereby in the improvement of the living conditions of the urban population. These cities have to not only catch-up on their basic systems for greater functionality but also to respond to the threats posed by climate change, sea level rise and other natural disaster which regularly impact the region.