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IDB organizes seminar on Opportunities for the Majority in the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank is organizing a seminar in Montego Bay, Jamaica, May 17-18, to identify new development models to serve the majority in the Caribbean through public, private and civil society partnerships.

The event will bring together corporate, non-profit, government and academic leaders to explore unconventional partnerships that can provide concrete solutions to problems faced by the region’s low-income majority. Participants will share their strategies and success stories in targeting low-income markets, which represent more than 8 million people in the Caribbean.

Speakers at the event will include Professor Stuart L. Hart, co-author of the path-breaking article “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid,” and David Rabkin, co-founder of the OTF Group and vice-president at American Express. Key thematic areas to be discussed will include infrastructure and housing, small and medium-sized enterprise development, microfinance, information and communications technology and financial democracy.


In the article The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Professor C.K Prahalad and Hart assert that to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity, everyone in the world needs to have access to the benefits of the global economy.  Professors Prahalad and Hart assert that the poor should be considered as both consumers and producers and not objects of charity.  They go on to assert that targeting the poor requires a different approach, one that goes further than corporate social responsibility initiatives that are typically more about philanthropy than market based solutions and therefore have limited sustainability.  In order to reach the majority at the bottom of the economic pyramid, the private sector must find ways to meet the needs of the excluded.

Based on this premise, in June 2006 the IDB launched its new development initiative, Opportunities for the Majority. Under the initiative, the IDB is working with the private sector and civil society to support innovative, practical, market based  solutions to persistent problems for the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as access to housing, basic infrastructure, formal financial services, employment, business opportunities and modern technology. The Bank believes that the private sector can play a significant role in development, one that is driven not only by pro-profit motives but also by pro growth and pro-development ambitions.

“It is indispensable today that companies in the region have a vision of the future to offer innovative solutions to the problems of the majority in Latin America and the Caribbean on a large scale, at attractive prices,” said President Luis Alberto Moreno. “We need more public-private partnerships that will supplement government action and generate opportunities for the poor.”

The Jamaica event will be held at the Half Moon Conference Center. Admission will be free, but registration is required.

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