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IDB and UWI name winner of internship contest


IDB and UWI name winner of internship contest

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FINAL YEAR UNIVERSITY student, Onoh-Obasi Okey was recently announced the winner of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Barbados Country Office internship competition.

The competition started late in 2015 as a pilot project between the IDB and the Department of Economics, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. The initiative was geared at exposing university students to the work of the IDB, while creating awareness of key development challenges for Barbados and the Caribbean region.  The competition encouraged the UWI students to share their ideas by writing essays on developmental topics for publication and discussion in the IDB Caribbean Department’s blog, Caribbean DevTrends. 

In a recognition ceremony at IDB House in Bridgetown, country representative Juan Carlos De La Hoz explained that the IDB is no ordinary bank.

 “The IDB is more than a bank; we work in partnership with executing agencies and governments and provide not only financing but also knowledge and technical assistance.  We have hundreds of technical specialists at the IDB providing ongoing support to our partners in the form of cutting-edge knowledge.  We try to understand the realities of each of our 26 borrowing member countries, and that is why the IDB was commonly known in the region as ‘The Friendly Bank’. “ 

De La Hoz elaborated, “In the 1960s when the IDB first started, our work was mainly in infrastructure because countries in the Latin America and the Caribbean region were lacking in this area. Later, our focus shifted to more social sector projects like education and health which became important drivers of development.  We then expanded our portfolio to tackle new relevant sectors like renewable energy and tourism.”  

Regarding Barbados, De La Hoz said, “we are proud to be a partner with the Government, the private sector, and civil society.  In this academically-based internship program, we tackle some of our main concerns – engaging with the youth of Barbados and demonstrating the IDB’s commitment to “improving lives.”  

Camilo Gomez-Osorio, senior country economist at the IDB, led the internal evaluation panel and said he was very pleased with the excellent work and the creativity of the students when relating everyday topics to economic concepts.  Gomez-Osorio noted, “This initiative was more than an internship competition. It was an opportunity to look at everyday issues through the lens of development economics, to formulate a critical and analytical argument on issues that touch many of us in our daily lives.  The students were creative in their choice of topics, which ranged from exploring the social costs of imposing a Fat-Tax, to using Bitcoin as a poverty alleviation tool, and other links such as poverty and gender.”  

Professor Winston Moore, the head of the UWI Department of Economics, thanked the IDB for being so supportive to the students.  

“One of my objectives at the beginning of the academic year was to improve the number of internships for students in the department, so this competition was timely.  We are proud of the quality of the work of our economics students.  Companies always compliment us, and the group of students who participated in the competition did not disappoint.  You kept pushing all the way through.  I would like to thank all the students for representing the department well,” Moore said. (PR)