29th Adlith Brown Memorial Lecture

Feature Speaker

Professor Andrew S. Downes

"Skills Development and Job Creation: Labour Market Policies for the 21st Century Caribbean"


Dr Andrew Downes is Professor of Economics and Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the Cave Hill Campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI). He graduated from the Cave Hill Campus of The UWI with BSc (Economics, First Class Honours) and MSc (Economics) degrees in 1977 and 1979 respectively and obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Manchester in 1985. He is also a Fellow of the World Academy of Productivity Science and has certification in Management, Human Resource Planning and Financial Management.

Professor Downes joined the Department of Economics at the Cave Hill Campus of the UWI in 1979 as an Assistant Lecturer and became Professorial Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) in 1995 and Professor of Economics in 1998. He has served as Head of the Department of Economics and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (Cave Hill). He has been a visiting Professor at George Washington University, Cornell University, Bureau of Labour Statistics (USA), University of Toronto (Canada) and the London School of Economics (UK).

Professor Downes has been the recipient of several awards, including: Charles Kennedy Prize in Economics, BWIA Student of the Year, Commonwealth Scholarships to the UK and Canada, Senior Fulbright Fellowships to the USA, Barbados Economics Society Awards for Excellence, UWI Cave Hill Principal’s Award for Excellence, UWI Pelican Alumni Peer Award (Outstanding Alumnus of the Faculty of Social Sciences) and the UWI Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence (Teaching/Administration, Research, University Service and Public Service).

In the area of public service, Professor Downes has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Barbados, the Barbados Port Authority and several other bodies in Barbados. In addition, he has served as Chairman of the National Productivity Council and the Wages Council in Barbados. At the regional level, he was Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Caribbean Centre for Monetary Studies (now Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance). Additionally, he was a Lead Negotiator for CARICOM in the FTAA negotiations.

Professor Downes is currently the Deputy Chairman of the Barbados Fair Trading Commission (FTC), a member of the Barbados Council of Economic Advisors, the Technical Coordinator for CARICOM’s Strategic Plan for Regional Development and a member of the Regional Advisory Group of the Western Hemisphere of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the UWI Press, a member of the Board of Graduate Studies and Research and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies (JECS). He was University Director of SALISES and Cave Hill Campus Coordinator for the UWI Strategic Plan 2007-2012.

His research interests include Labour/Human Resources Economics, Applied Econometrics and Development Economics. He is the author of over 90 articles in journals and books, 12 monographs and numerous conference/seminar papers and technical reports. Professor Downes has been a consultant for several national, regional and international organisations such as the ILO, IDB, World Bank, UN agencies, PAHO, DFID, CDB, the CARICOM and OECS Secretariats and the Government of Barbados. He is regarded as one of the region’s leading labour economists.