GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday November 30, 2011 – Senior officials with responsibility for Information and Communication Technologies in the Caribbean will meet in Grenada tomorrow and Friday to put the finishing touches on a draft plan for the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS).
That strategy is required to develop the framework for a Regional Broadband Policy, which is viewed as critical for advancing the Caricom Single Market and Economy and facilitating regional development.
“The Meeting of senior officials is expected to spawn a fine-tuned ready-to-roll implementation plan and a regional broadband strategy framework to complement the RDDS for ultimate approval of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community,” a statement from the Caricom Secretariat said.
The strategy, which was approved at the 36th Special Meeting of the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in May of this year, aims to establish a coordinated regional approach for improving ICT in the region and to use ICT as a critical development tool to advance the region on its path to an information and knowledge society.
The secretariat said broadband is a key driver of economic growth and national competitiveness, and can contribute to social and cultural development.
“Countries, communities, businesses, and individuals that lack easy access to broadband may miss economic and social opportunities,” it stated.
“Broadband cities attract more services firms and so create more jobs than their narrowband counterparts. Communities also benefit from faster Internet access- their residents have enhanced real and virtual opportunities to communicate with each other and to access government services and public officials, and to spur innovation and create new avenues of ‘wealth.’”
The Grenada meeting will also discuss the new governance arrangements for the CARICOM ICT4D program and the region’s participation in the impending “Connect the Americas Summit,” set for Panama in early 2012.