News Releases

UWI St. Augustine Student Wins International Essay Contest “Ideas for the Future”

For Release Upon Receipt - November 6, 2020

St. Augustine

 ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. Friday 6 November 2020 – Omari Joseph, a student of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), St.  Augustine Campus, has won the 2020 edition of the Ideas for the Future contest, an annual initiative hosted by the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and Central Banks in the region to promote youth views on development. Joseph's composition on the needs of SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean, led to his success in the regional essay contest. This year's competition received more than 500 entries from university students in 19 countries. 

Joseph, who also won the 2019 and 2020 national editions of the contest, will receive the “Guillermo Perry Prize,” which features a personal recognition by Luis Carranza, Executive President of CAF, and a prize of USD3,000. A student from the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia) earned second place, and the third place went to a student from the Universidad Torcuato di Tella (Argentina). 

The UWI student´s essay on the situation of SMEs and potential policy solutions was the best among more than 500 writings from 19 countries and argued that Trinidad and Tobago and other countries in the region need to create better policies in order to close the historical productivity gap of these firms. “SMEs are truly considered to be the 'backbone' of Latin America and the Caribbean economy. Creating the best possible environment for these firms should be a top government priority. The case of Trinidad and Tobago presents an example within LAC of a country taking the initiative after key weaknesses were identified to address these issues”, wrote Joseph in his essay. 

 “The #IdeasForTheFuture contest demonstrates every year the vibrancy and talent of the Latin American and Caribbean youth. This year's edition, conditioned by COVID-19, has shown that Latin American youth are prepared and that they have good and great ideas to transform the reality of their countries,” said Luis Carranza. The original texts of the 12 finalists and winners are available on the website 



About CAF, Development Bank of Latin America

The mission of CAF, Development Bank of Latin America, is to promote sustainable development and regional integration by means of financing projects in the public and private sectors, providing technical cooperation, and other specialized services. Created in 1970, it is made up of 19 countries, 17 Latin American and Caribbean, together with Spain and Portugal, and 13 private banks, it is one of the main sources of multilateral financing and an important generator of knowledge for the region. More information in 

About The UWI

For more than 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students across five campuses: Cave Hill in Barbados; Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda; Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago; and an Open Campus. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018 and 2019. The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.

As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. For more, visit

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of “The”)