Senior Director, Research and Measurement Unit, Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC) Mikhail-Ann Urquhart, says investment in research and development is critical in achieving the levels of productivity needed to boost competiveness and economic growth.
“One of the problems that we have in the Caribbean, in general, is that we have very low levels of investment in research and development. Research and development is necessary to drive the innovation that will help to push productivity,” she said.
Miss Urquhart was addressing the JPC’s fourth quarterly productivity forum for 2020/21, which was staged virtually on Thursday (March 4).
Research and development is intended to create new or improved technology that can provide a competitive advantage at the business, industry, or national levels.
Noting that technology is an important driver of growth, Miss Urquhart said studies have shown that firms that adapt more easily to new technologies that are appropriate will have better and long-term gains in productivity.
“With greater application of technology, we find that we can have more economic complexity in our exports. This means we can have higher-value exports that will help us to earn more income,” she noted.
Miss Urquhart said other elements in boosting productivity are appropriate skills matching of workers with jobs, competitiveness, management practices and employee engagement and well-being.
The virtual forum was held under the theme ‘Improving Productivity: Recovering and Adapting to the New Norm’.