State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, has underscored the accruable benefits which the digital applications sector can yield for Jamaica’s economy, particularly for small and medium enterprises.
Making his presentation in the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 31, Mr. Robinson noted that the "apps economy", as it is commonly known, has the potential to generate significant earnings and job opportunities for Jamaicans, particularly young people.
"The apps economy is one of the new and fastest growing markets (globally). It's a market that is worth US$20 billion..(and) employs half a million persons in the United States alone," the State Minister outlined.
Mr. Robinson contended that this would augur well for Jamaica's small and medium size enterprise interests, comprising 78 per cent of the stakeholders operating in the apps economy. Additionally, he said a number of companies undertaking development of applications within their operations, outsourced this activity to small entities.
"The barriers to entry are low in this industry. You don’t need an office…you don’t need a big building. You (only) need access to the internet and you need to have a computer. And, the challenge for us is that we have a lot of youngsters who have the ideas, but to convert an idea into something which is bankable, that is where the gaps exist. We are committed to ensuring access…to ensure that we create jobs, reduce unemployment, and that we provide (opportunities) for our young people,” he argued.
Mr. Robinson also outlined the benefits which the incorporation of digitization would yield. He said based on the content of the 2012 Information Technology report, a 10 per cent increase in digitization would result in a 0.60 per cent increase in per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP); a 0.84 per cent reduction in unemployment; and a six per cent increase in a country’s score on the global innovation index.
“In terms of governance, the same report said a 10 per cent increase in digitization increases a country’s transparency index by 1.2 points. (The) rationale is that if government has information that is widely accessible to the public, then government will (be deemed) more transparent,” Mr. Robinson said.