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GFDD and FUNGLODE Panel at UNHQ Addresses Strategies for Poverty Reduction and Eradication

GFDD and FUNGLODE Panel at UNHQ Addresses Strategies for Poverty Reduction and Eradication

GFDD and FUNGLODE Panel at UNHQ Addresses Strategies for Poverty Reduction and Eradication
New York, October 19, 2013

On Thursday, October 17, 2013, in honor of the United Nations International Day of Eradication of Poverty, the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and its sister organization in the Dominican Republic Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) in collaboration with the Dominican Republic Mission to the UN, organized a Panel Discussion entitled: “Local Productivity, Entrepreneurship and Employment: Essential Tools for Poverty Eradication.”

The Panel of representatives was comprised of: Yamile Eusebio, Director, New York GFDD Office, José Caraballo Cueto, Ph.D. in Economics, The New School for Social Research and former InterDom Fellow; Andrés Van der Horst, Minister and Executive Director, National Advisory Committee on Competitiveness, DR, and Mandy Sciacchitano, InterDom and Fellows Program Manager who acted as monitor of the panel. The Dominican Mission to the United Nations made the welcoming remarks. On behalf of Ambassador Alcantara, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Dominican Mission to the UN, Counselor Luz Andujar, thanked GFDD for this invaluable initiative and for organizing this event for International Day on the Eradication of Poverty. Ms. Andujar noted that unemployment and underemployment are at the core of poverty and that, as such, job creation should be a central issue in all poverty reduction strategies.

The launch of a Dr. José Caraballo Cueto’s publication, “Local Capacity Development: The Key to Benefiting from Globalization and Reducing Unemployment in the Dominican Republic,” gave panelists the topic to discuss Caraballo’s findings, which are centered around why a systematic national plan for stimulating local capacity is central to enhanced global market competitiveness and reduced unemployment in the Dominican Republic.

In her remarks, Ms. Eusebio expressed pride in having Dr. Caraballo as a former scholar of the Fellows Program and that his work has elevated the quality of the debate on this important issue.

José Caraballo’s extensive research has been turned into a GFDD Research and Ideas publication in which José G. Caraballo-Cueto delivers an incisive analysis on how increases in employment and entrepreneurship contribute to poverty eradication and enhanced market competitiveness in the Dominican Republic. His study comprehensively dissects the Dominican economy, from the impact of international trade, to the domestic labor market. He succinctly explains why the expansion of native entrepreneurial productive capacity is key to maximizing gains on the global market.

His recommendations include:
Removing intermediaries from value chain in agriculture and lowering interest rates for agricultural technology; increasing data availability; increasing communication with local firms; requiring that foreign capital should complement, not substitute, domestic capital.

He pointed out that GDP growth that does not decrease high structural unemployment, nor increase the average real wage, will not bring high development. He stressed the creation of jobs and periodic increases in the minimum salary along with productivity gains. He is also in favor of South-South trade agreements and demanding better working conditions and pay in Free Trade Zones as well a general improvement of working conditions; cooperatives and affirmative action laws.

His data and exhaustive research concludes by proving why locally made exports have demonstrably higher multiplier effects on the rest of the economy than those produced in the numerous Free Trade Zones that are functioning throughout the country.

Andres Van der Horst, Founder and Executive Director of the National Competitiveness Council of the Dominican Republic, concurred. “The economic model in the Dominican Republic is the problem. We still have the same problems we had 50 years ago… poverty and inequality remain our biggest challenges.”

“In the last 10 years, we’ve had losers and winners…the loser is the government and its fiscal issues that are the same or less than our surrounding neighbors. We have to do better. We have to change the mindset of policymakers,” continued Mr. Van der Horst who added that he would focus more on the Dominican agriculture market than tourism because tourism has no value added and is not supplemented.

The panelists agreed with Mr. Van der Horst and Dr. Caraballo’s position that the Dominican Republic’s agriculture industry could hold the key to lowering unemployment and eradicating poverty. With Caraballo’s suggestions of removing intermediaries from the value chain and lowering interest rates for agricultural technology, the field can only grow as natural resources, land and climate conditions are optimal to make agriculture the center of the country’s potentially successful economic model.

About Jose Caraballo Cueto
Mr. José Caraballo Cueto earned a Ph.D. in Economics at The New School for Social Research in New York. He holds an M.A. in Economics from the University of Puerto Rico College of Social Sciences and a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico College of Business Administration. He has experience teaching micro and macroeconomics at Berkley College, and has also worked as a research associate for Center of Puerto Rican Studies of Hunter College.? He owns two small businesses, Ferretería Caraballo and Remodelaciones Caraballo, and is a columnist for the newspaper El Nuevo Día. He is also a member of the forum “Dominican Migration: Political and Economic Perspectives,” organized by the Association of Students of Political Science.

Mr. Caraballo participated in the GFDD/FUNGLODE Fellows Program in the summer of 2012 under the guidance of Fellows Advisor and Chief Economist at FUNGLODE, Frederic Emam-Zadé. Through his association with the program, Carraballo had the opportunity to connect with other professionals conducting work on similar topics. The final draft of his paper was handed for review and commentary for the Research and Ideas Series to Ms. Magdalena Lizardo, Director of the Advisory Unit of Social and Economic Analysis of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development of the Dominican Republic.

About the Fellows Program 
The?Fellows Program, an extension of the internship and academic exchange program InteRDom, was developed in 2009 to respond to the desire of GFDD and FUNGLODE to develop a community of scholars that contributes to the Foundations’ growing body of research on matters of international concern that directly impact the Dominican Republic, complementing the overall mission of GFDD / FUNGLODE to promote academic exchange, generate scholarship, and influence the creation of public policy related to economic and social development both at the national and international level.

More information:

View Presentation

View Publication- “Local Capacity Development: The Key to Benefiting from Globalization and Reducing Unemployment in the Dominican Republic”

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