Jamaic's 51st Independence: Bridging the Innovation Divide Paying Dividends
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Jamaica’s goal of Bridging the Innovation Divide paying Dividends

Among Global leaders in freedom of the press and creativity

Tony Best

Ever since Jamaica joined the ranks of sovereign states at the United Nations 51 years ago, it has conducted a vigorous effort to fashion a solid reputation for innovation.
    And despite the global nightmare spawned by the international financial meltdown crisis and the Caribbean country’s own prolonged economic problems which pre-dated the worldwide downturn it seems to be holding its own among a long list of its peers. That was part of the thinking behind the new 2013 global innovation quality index report on Jamaica, Canada, the U.S., the Bahamas, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Hungary, France, and more than 133 other countries.
The Index is the work of experts from the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, America’s Cornell University and INSEAD, “The Business School for the World” with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.
    Although they ranked Jamaica in the lower half of the list of countries included in the Index, 82nd to be precise, the island’s scores and rankings suggested Jamaica was on its way of joining the ranks of some of the world’s most creative states.  Globally, Jamaica scored better than at least 50 countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and most of Africa, including Albania, Iran, Venezuela, Pakistan, Indonesia, Botswana, the Philippines, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Nigeria and Bangladesh.
When the experts measured  the functioning of key institutions and the environment in which they operate, Jamaica rose to the top half of the list, being ranked 58th, a performance that outmatched those of almost 90 countries. Its best showing was by its media institutions which were able to thrive without governmental interference. Indeed, Jamaica’s record of press freedom surpassed those of the United States and Britain, earning a global ranking of 11th. The political atmosphere was also sound, creating a positive record of stability, 48th in the world while the ease of starting a business, 35th and shutting down enterprises when they had become insolvent placed the country in the top 40 in the look at institutions. On the other hand, the record of its taxpaying left much to be desire, 115th.
But the functioning of Jamaica’s institutions wasn’t the only area of that gave a good showing. The use of “creative outputs” earned the 58th spot, which means it had a much better track record than 84 states. That included how it puts its “intangible assets,” information communication technology and “online creativity” to good use.
    On the other hand, the country’s market and business sophistication left much to be desired. It didn’t effectively utilize its “knowledge and technology “outputs” as it should have and Its high-tech infrastructure could also do with considerable improvement.
    To prepare the index the experts looked human capital research, the way governments and the private sector function, printing and publishing, government’s online service, education,  business growth and development, environmental performance, the availability of venture capital and a host of other areas. In all they examined 84 indicators.
    The world’s top 10 countries were Switzerland, Sweden, the U.K., U.S., Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Denmark and Ireland. At the other end were Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Niger, Zimbabwe, Syria, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo Madagascar, Sudan and Yemen.
“Dynamic innovation hubs are multiplying around the world despite the difficult state of the global economy,” stated Francis Garry, WIPO Director-General. “For national policy level makers seeking to support innovation, realizing the full potential of their own backyards is often a more promising approach than trying to emulate successful innovation models.
Published annually since 2007, the Global Innovation Index, GII is considered a major benchmark tool for business executives, policy makers and others seeking insights into the state of innovation around, stated the study’s authors.

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