May 26, 2017 Last Updated 8:50 PM, May 25, 2017

Region cannot sit on sidelines of digital era, CARICOM ASG warns

Mr. Joseph Cox, Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, CARICOM Secretariat. Mr. Joseph Cox, Assistant Secretary-General, Trade and Economic Integration, CARICOM Secretariat.
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Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Assistant Secretary-General Trade and Economic Integration, Mr Joseph Cox, has warned the Community not to sit on the sidelines of the digital era.

“There is almost no option to sit on the sidelines in this new digital era.  Whatever is happening in the developed world will also happen in the developing world.  Our tourists for the most part come from developed countries and our current and potential investors as well.  Their expectations with regard to ICT, its usage for efficiency in business and leisure are not far-fetched”, Mr. Cox said.

He was at the time making brief remarks before the meeting of officials of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The meeting was held on 20 April, 2017, via videoconferencing that was anchored at the CARICOM Secretariat.

The main agenda item was the integrated draft work plan for the Single ICT Space which will be placed before the Ministerial Meeting of the COTED. During their two-day Intersessional Meeting in Georgetown 16-17 February, 2017, CARICOM Heads of Government approved the Roadmap for the Single ICT Space.

The Single ICT Space is conceptualised as the digital layer of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Region’s flagship programme. It encompasses the management of Regional information, human resources, legislation and infrastructure in the sector to elicit maximum benefit for the Region’s populace.

The Single ICT space and the Region’s Digital Agenda 2025 will be constructed on the foundation of the Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS) which was approved in 2013, and will also have inputs from the Commission on the Economy and the Post-2015 Agenda.

“The development of the CARICOM Single ICT space provides an opportunity to be on par with other developing countries and hopefully begin to compete through innovation in some of our indigenous sectors”, Mr. Cox told the officials on Thursday.

The Single ICT Space, Mr. Cox said, presented another window of opportunity for the Region to work together as it continued to do for the CSME.

“We cannot take this opportunity lightly,” he cautioned.

The Ministerial Meeting is scheduled for 19 May, 2017.

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