“Be honest in the evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us” – Romans 12:3
Last week I was inspired by the deliberations of the first ever Malaysia/Africa Business Forum (MABF) “Exploring New Dimensions”. This week my inspiration has been augmented by the reflections at the 9th Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) which followed MABF with the theme “Enhancing Smart Partnership for Socio-Economic Transformation. LID was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and in collaboration with the Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management (CPTM). The MABF audience of over 750 participants was sustained over the plenary sessions of LID on Sunday 19 and Tue 21 June 2011.
The Caribbean participants consisted of Mrs. Diane Lalla-Rodrigues, Chairman of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), based in Antigua; Mr. Osmore Gall, a member of the Council of the Grenada University of Science and Technology which was set up to get S&T anchored in Grenada; and myself. We are CPTM members.
On Sunday 19 there was a precision driven opening ceremony at which the Prime Minister of Malaysia gave the keynote address. After this he visited the accompanying exhibition with a large diversity of booths which were open to visitors over the entire duration of the MABF and LID 2011 plenary sessions. This was followed by a series of Heads of Government presentations on the following themes (1) Realising National Visions through Socio-Economic transformation; (2) Innovative Financing for Transformation; and (3) Poverty Eradication. In the evening, a welcome dinner was hosted by the Malaysian Prime Minister at which there was the most exquisite pan Malaysian cultural performance.
On Monday 20, there was a session for Heads of State and Government on the theme “Transforming and Realising National Visions”. There was a presentation by the CEO, Performance Management & Delivery Unit, Prime Minister’s Department on “One Malaysia: People first; Performance Now”. This also included the Government Transformation Programme; the Economic Transformation Programme and the New Economic Model.
In parallel, other participants were engaged in a Smart Partnership “Dialogue in the Field – Economic Transformation in Action”. The visitors were divided into five groups as follows: (1) The Business of Agriculture; (2) Competiveness in Manufacturing; (3) Promoting ICT Enterprises; (4) Nurturing SME Start-Ups in Biotechnology; and (5) Climate Change and Sustainable Development.
On Tuesday, there were very powerful reports in four categories: (1) “Sharing & Learning” from the Heads; (2) “Sharing & Learning from the Field”; (3) “Sharing & Learning” from the MABF; and “Sharing & Learning” from the Youth, who were well represented by CPTM’s Smart 29 ers.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia gave the closing speech at which he announced the host country of the next Smart Partnership Dialogue. President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania came to the podium to confirm that the next Global Dialogue would be in Dar-es-Salam in 2013. More about LID in next week’s column.
LID 2011 is the 20th in the series. There have been nine Southern African Dialogues (SAID) since the first in Botswana in 1997 as well as nine LIDs since the first in 1995 and the most recent just concluded. There were two Barbados International Dialogues BID 1996 and BID 1999 in the early years in the Smart Partnership series. I can confirm that all the initiatives with which I have been involved, including the current Venture Capital initiative BIM Ventures, based on the CBET Shepherding Model™, have had a sound Smart Partnership foundation.
Over the last few years, I have been gently alluding to the fact that, given the challenges in the small states in the Caribbean, there should be another BID. My experience over the last week has left me even more convinced that the Caribbean is missing out on an excellent opportunity to partner with the Malaysians, who have demonstrated their willingness to share.
My assessment is that, the Heads of Government should well consider sharing the cost of hosting BID 2012 in the Caribbean and benefitting from the wealth of knowledge that has been garnered by the Smart Partnership movement over the last 16 years. It may very well lead to a Malaysian Caribbean Business Forum at the next LID, whenever it is convened.
Malaysia is the most recent in a list of South East Asian countries which have followed in the economic development path of the four Asian Tigers the term used to describe the highly developed economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan after 1970.
As my UK based sister opined this weekend “I think the problem with the Caribbean is that people are stuck in a low self-esteem mode, focusing on being under-privileged and on top of that, feeding a mendicant mentality rather than pulling out the stops and getting on with it”. Her view is more akin to the philosophy of BEF www.barbadosentrepreneurshipfoundation.org which promotes the vision “Barbados – “The #1 Entrepreneurial Hub In The World by 2020”.
At the BEF SUMMIT November 2011, Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology & Innovation (CADSTI) will be partnering with BEF. Maybe the BEF SUMMIT 2012 would be an excellent opportunity for a Smart Partnership between BEF, CADSTI and BID 2012.
Do not miss the monthly BEF Forum on Tues 28 at the Plantation Garden Theatre at 6pm where the topic will be “Working to unlock and develop the talent, creativity and innovation in young Barbadians”.