BRUSSELS, WILLEMSTAD – Brussels, January 25 – The drive for Innovation in the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) has moved up a gear following the finalization of innovation strategies drawn up by Individual OCTs under the OCTA Innovation project.
Individual OCT innovation strategies detail the innovation landscape, the scope for innovation by sector and action plans to achieve the new goals. The strategies are a key feature of OCTA Innovation, a four-year EU funded project that is leveraging economic diversification and improved regional and global competitiveness in the EU’s inhabited OCTs*.
Fiona Curie was appointed as Innovation Manager by the government of Curaçao to be in the driving seat of all of the project’s activities for the island. OCTA Innovation Team Leader, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, says: “All segments of society in the OCTs were involved in drawing up the strategies: government, public bodies, businesspeople, academics, scientists, banks, investors, not-for-profit organizations and individuals from every sector – agriculture, construction, the creative industry, energy, financial services, fisheries, food processing, IT, tourism, trade and transport.”
“A great job has been done, but a lot of the work to apply innovation strategies lies ahead. The progress made so far shows that OCT governments understand the crucial importance of innovation for their countries, and are ready to make the systemic innovation, undertaking required to implement innovation across all segments of the economy and society.
The approval letter accompanying Curaçao’s strategy was signed by Prime Minister Bernard Whiteman. It reads: “We fully recognize the importance of innovation to bring sustainable economic growth to the Overseas Countries and Territories. We are highly appreciative to the OCT Association for both having initiated and taken the lead in the Territorial Stategies for Innovation project, and to the EU for providing funding.”
In parallel with actions to develop systemic innovation, the project is directly funding innovation initiatives. It has already secured EUR 1.5 million of EU funding for pilot projects as a first step towards implementing the strategies. “The European Union understands the importance of keeping the momentum of our innovative work and supporting the first steps of the action plans developed on the basis of the innovative strategies,” says Milan Jezic von Gesseneck.
*Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, French Polynesia, Saba, St. Barthélemy, Saint Helena, Saint Pierre-et Miquelon, Sint Eustatius, St.Maarten, Turks and Caicos, Wallis and Futuna.