JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister Simpson Miller says the region has the collective wisdom to overcome the pressing developmental challenges of poverty, hunger and inequality.
  • The Prime Minister said the fight against hunger and poverty requires an integrated, transformational approach.
  • The Prime Minister informed that in spite of slow GDP growth in the region, there has been some level of progress in reducing hunger by almost 25 per cent.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says the region has the collective wisdom to overcome the pressing developmental challenges of poverty, hunger and inequality.

“We should not underestimate the full potential of our region. Latin America and the Caribbean represent a market of 600 million people; we have a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of almost US$6 trillion that offers opportunities for countries in trade, investment and other areas,” she noted.

Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking at the first plenary session of the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), on January 28, in Havana, Cuba.

The Prime Minister said the fight against hunger and poverty requires an integrated, transformational approach, encompassing areas such as technology exchange; research expertise, including regional air and sea connectivity; development of infrastructure; integration among CELAC members, and information sharing.

She added that developing countries can also benefit from lessons learned and from the exchange of experiences with other countries, where beneficial schemes have been implemented to empower the poor.

“We must grasp the opportunities within the region to make our economies more secure and increase our resilience to external shocks,” the Prime Minister urged.

Mrs. Simpson Miller also called on her CELAC counterparts not to be daunted by the many challenges they face, pointing out that the Community is a tangible demonstration of the region’s growing maturity and confidence.

The Prime Minister informed that in spite of slow GDP growth in the region, there has been some level of progress in reducing hunger by almost 25 per cent over the decade ending in 2012, and suggested that this progress must be bolstered with increased cooperation among the region’s economies.

“Let us work even more closely together for the advancement of our people. We must tackle the structural challenges in our economies and address the vulnerabilities which constrain our prospects for growth,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

“The long-term socio-economic growth of our region requires closer links and cooperation among our countries as well as the strengthening of our collective resolve to achieve sustainable development,” she added.

A total of 33 Heads of State and Government have converged in Havana at the CELAC Summit, which ends on January 29, to engage in talks on a number of issues, including  intra-regional trade, sustainable development, science and technology, climate change, natural disasters, transportation, and social development.

The Prime Minister is expected to return to the island on Wednesday.