Girls from the Canaries Infant School in St Lucia

Caribbean Community

The mounting cost of natural disasters has set the stage for bold collective initiatives in the Caribbean Common Market (Caricom, chapter 6) in areas that include climate resilience and green innovation. For instance, in order to relieve the financial and ecological burden of costly imports of fossil fuels, the Green Climate Fund is supporting an eight-year project to develop geothermal resources in Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.  

Guyana plans to use the recent discovery of offshore oil and gas reserves by ExxonMobil to develop renewable sources of energy. To this end, the government created a Sovereign Wealth Fund in 2019 which is financed primarily from oil earnings; one project concerns turning the town of Bartica into a ‘pilot and model green town’, with support from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.  

Strategic frameworks are closely aligned with The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development but detailed roadmaps and sustainable funding, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are needed to support implementation.  

Member states have adopted a Caricom Digital Agenda 2025 and a roadmap approved in 2017 for the creation of a Single Caricom ICT Space to nurture an ICT-enabled borderless space. Training will be a key element, given the shortage of software engineers and low scientific output in this field.  

Although the observed growth in scientific publications attests to a more vibrant research culture, the current emphasis on health research will not prepare Caribbean societies for the digital and green economies of tomorrow. 

The near-total absence of data on research and development is penalizing science management at the national and regional levels. For instance, it has hampered implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Caribbean Community, 2015–2019. In 2018, Caricom developed a Results-based Management System with support from the Caribbean Development Bank to guide systematic data collection, analysis and use, as well as reporting on progress towards regional integration and development. 

With innovative firms in need of systemic, sustained support, Jamaica’s new programme for Boosting Innovation, Growth and an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem could serve as a model for the region. 

Selected data
Share of publications with foreign co-authors

for 12 out of 14 selected Caricom countries

1 106
Number of patents granted to Barbados

from the world's top five patent offices over 2015-2019

Increase in Grenada's scientific publications

per million inhabitants between 2015 and 2019

Increase in the number of researchers

per million inhabitants in Trinidad & Tobago over 2015-2017

  • Figure 6.1: Socio-economic trends in Caricom countries 
  • Figure 6.2: Status of development strategies in Caricom countries, 2020 
  • Figure 6.3: Trends in research expenditure and personnel in Trinidad and Tobago 
  • Figure 6.4: Trends in higher education in the Caricom countries
  • Figure 6.5: Trends in scientific publishing in the Caricom countries 
  • Figure 6.6: Trends in patenting and high-tech trade in Caricom countries