JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Michael Stern, has suggested that governments and business communities in the region work together to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.
“Despite difficult times, we need not be unnecessarily pessimistic. What we need to see now is greater investment in ICT, so that we in this region can have the same sort of impact in the international market as (Malaysia and Singapore have),” Mr Stern said.
“We need to move beyond the discussions and the expressions of commitment, towards taking concrete, structured and consistent action right across the region,” he added.
The State Minister was speaking at the first Caribbean Conference on Information and Communications Technology, at the Visitor’s Lodge, University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, yesterday (March 16).
Mr. Stern noted that the current financial crisis could provide entrepreneurial opportunities for budding ICT businesses in the region which, in turn, could empower economic recovery and make the region internationally competitive.
“Investors that are well endowed with cash may find interesting opportunities as a result of the crisis, but the picture also varies considerably by country and company. The crisis may also create openings for small start-ups that prove themselves agile enough in exploiting new opportunities, especially where new opportunities can save consumers money,” the State Minister said.
Mr. Stern stated that the Caribbean region has made significant progress over the years in terms of ICT development. He noted that in the 2008 e-readiness rankings, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Jamaica ranked 5.17, ahead of the Philippines which ranked 4.90 out of a score of 10.
“We are also not too far behind South Africa, which ranked 5.95 and Malaysia with 6.16. Bermuda, of course, ranks the highest in this region with a score of 8.22, which is not too far behind Singapore with a ranking of 8.74,” Mr Stern said.
The Minister said he welcomed the opportunity that the conference provided to facilitate dialogue, and charting of the way forward for all stakeholders in the ICT industry.
President of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences, Professor Tara Dasgupta, noted that the academy was pleased to organise the conference. The Conference is being held in collaboration with the UWI Mona campus and the Caribbean Academy of Sciences.

Skip to content