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2014 - SIGNS OF COMPETITIVENESS IN THE AMERICAS  /  Message from the RIAC Technical Secretariat

Message from the RIAC Technical Secretariat

Message from the RIAC Technical Secretariat
As Secretary General of the Organization of American States, it is my distinct honor and pleasure to welcome you to the Eighth Edition of the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Trinidad and Tobago, a beautiful and vibrant country which has brought us together to imagine and influence our common future. 

For the third consecutive year, we share with you the “Signs of Competitiveness in the Americas” Report which continues the effort to share successful competitiveness experiences from countries in the Americas as well as intellectual contributions from critical thinkers, global experts and leading regional institutions. Part of the important legacy provided by Trinidad in Tobago in 2014 are over twenty think-pieces and interviews on innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity developed for this year’s report.

Inside every human resides a creative soul. The power to imagine and conceive ideas is universal: it is not limited by one’s nationality, gender, religion or level of education. It is an asset that every individual and every country of the Americas has, and it must be nurtured and stimulated in order to create innovation and enhance competitiveness. In line with the VIII ACF theme “Human Imagination at Work: Driving Competitiveness, Powering Innovation”, I strongly believe that every human in the right environment of knowledge and with the right resources has the power to generate innovative ideas and solve problems, to create new products and services, and to improve the life of its community.

The fast-paced world we live in today is ruled by innovative minds and driven entrepreneurs; today’s youth respond to an education based on interactive and hands-on teaching methods with access to technology; our professionals and businesses function in a borderless and interconnected social environment.

The biggest challenges ahead of us are to reduce social, knowledge, technology and skills gaps; accelerate the introduction of new economic and social policies that favor change and support young entrepreneurs; and strengthen our institutions and improve the quality and pertinence of our education. In order to produce sustained growth and competitiveness, we need to invest in the people and the ecosystems that produce innovations. We need to build high-value niches where we can excel based on our own identities, assets, biodiversity and cultures.

I believe that we are all part of an integrated system that is built upon joint contributions and that the solutions to those challenges will only be achieved through enhanced cooperation. I also believe that the Americas Competitiveness Forum and the RIAC are very important spaces that can help us move past those challenges and that an open dialogue is necessary in order to help our region achieve economic and social development.

I invite each and every one of you to use this Signs of Competitiveness Report which comprises over 50 new experiences and which has collected more than 150 experiences since 2012 , as a reference and a tool to promote and facilitate cooperation on competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship across the region.
Allow me to convey our deepest and most sincere gratitude to all of you for contributing to these endeavors and for joining us in Port of Spain for the most important hemispheric event on competitiveness in the Americas. In particular, I would like to recognize Senator Dr. The Honourable, Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development of Trinidad and Tobago and his team for the leadership, vision and hard work throughout the past year as Chair Pro-Tempore of the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC). As Technical Secretariat of RIAC, the OAS has been delighted to collaborate with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and all RIAC Members to make the Eighth Americas Competitiveness Forum a great success.

José Miguel Insulza
Secretary General
Organization of American States (OAS)