The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunication Authority (ECTEL) and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) – working in collaboration with the World Bank – are looking to implement the latest phase of the Caribbean Digital Transformation Program (CDTP), covering Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Saint Lucia. The programme aims ‘to strengthen the digital economy in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), support regional collaboration to create common standards, regulations, policies and shared public investments and create economies of scale. It is also expected to ease access to new markets and make the region a more attractive digital investment destination’.
The ECCB has set out its stall as a strong advocate for a thriving digital economy within the ECCU and to that end a team from the World Bank visited Saint Lucia last month for a preliminary assessment ahead of the start of the CDTP. Working with stakeholders from both the private and public sectors, a World Bank spokesperson noted: ‘We’ve had a good opportunity to get a sense of a lot of the unique initiatives that are happening across government as well as in the private sector and there seems to be a lot of interest in the digital space both from a service delivery perspective but also from the private sector perspective. I think there is really an untapped potential here in Saint Lucia and across the wider region to use technology to reach new markets and create some more dynamism in the economy that may have been missing today.’ Implementation of the programme will be at both the country level and regional level.
The CDTP has three main components: digital ecosystem (regarding telecommunications, cybersecurity and financial services); digital infrastructure (regarding projects to modernise government, addressing ‘gaps in the digital framework’); and digital skills/entrepreneurship (focusing on ‘up-skilling’ the population while assisting the private sector in adopting new technologies to support development of their business processes).
Other regional partners in the CDTP include the OECS Commission and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), providing advisory support.