“Connect the Caribbean” is the Caribbean’s response to the ITU’s Connect the World initiative, which has as its goal, basic global connectivity by 2015. Following the already successful initiatives across the globe such as “Connect Africa” and “Connect Asia”; the Caribbean effort, championed by the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Operators (CANTO), proposes a number of activities and strategies for the utilization of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) to link the peoples of the Caribbean so as to foster a greater sense of Caribbean Identity, as well as to drive and promote Regional economic integration and prosperity.
CANTO along with lead consultants, INFOCOMM Technologies (ICT) Ltd., have collaborated with a range of other stakeholders to devise strategies and activities under the Connect the Caribbean initiative which leverage ICTs, e- commerce, indigenous e-content creation and innate Caribbean creativity as the platforms from which to fulfill this mandate. These initiatives will enable real time and asynchronous communication, facilitate cost effective opportunity matching and ultimately ensure the Region’s enduring economic success.
Regional organisations recognise that realizing the promise of ICT requires not simply the adoption of ICT as a theme at the policy level, but also the usage of ICT by individual citizens, businesses and Governments to improve productivity and promote a Regional sense of identity.
In this regard CANTO has undertaken to champion the development of three key initiatives:
The e-Content Initiative
The Content Creation Project will, in the first instance take the form of national and Regional e-Content Competitions which will ultimately feed into the 2011 World Summit Awards. The competition will encourage content creation in a wide variety of areas including applications for government, business, entertainment and environment. The emergence and showcase of these new innovations will inevitably drive demand, both regionally and internationally, thereby fostering a self-sustaining economic model. CANTO will be engaging its members to facilitate this e-Content competition which will be culminate in a grand event, timed to coincide with the CANTO AGM in January 2011.
The e-Marketplace Initiative
Governments, business and the wider citizenry can come together in a virtual space to trade ideas, opportunities, goods and services through a Regional e-Marketplace championed by CANTO under CTC! The Marketplace will allow businesses greater regional visibility and will create a platform for governments to operate more efficiently. CANTO will be promoting to its members the great opportunities presented in the form of hosting, advertising and applicable subscription fees. The e-marketplace is scheduled to be launched at next year’s (27th Annual) Regional Conference and Trade Exhibition.
Social and Community Investments
CANTO is also encouraging its members to invest in its social and community initiatives. One of these initiatives is the Community HUB. The Community HUB model involves developing the skills of underserved youth in a way that not only allows them to use technology in its existing applicable form, but to create new and native solutions which are re-deployable both in a business setting as well as within their communities. The Community HUB focuses on empowering youth and developing them into responsible change agents, saving our environment, and developing new enterprise. In the coming months, CANTO will be seeking tangible commitment from its members on the topic of community investment.
… all leveraging the power of ICTs!