A highly strategic project is gaining momentum in the OECS region. It’s the Caribbean Digital Transformation Project (CARDTP) which is funded by the World Bank and is being implemented by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in partnership with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS).
CARDTP began in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. To mark its one-year milestone, the project officially launched to the public on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
Director General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules, noted the timeliness of CARDTP in helping to drive the OECS digital transformation agenda forward through its multifaceted approach.
“It represents a truly collaborative endeavor of the OECS-Caribbean village with the World Bank. In the Caribbean tradition of the Koudmen (or literally a lending hand), many critical organizations have come to this labor of love and necessity.”
CARDTP’s three pillars cover:
1. The Digital Enabling Environment addressing:
telecommunications competition, affordability, and service quality
the enabling environment for Digital Financial Services
cybersecurity, data protection, and privacy.
2. Digital Government Infrastructure Platforms & Services embracing:
Digital Service Enablers such as digital ID, Government payment platforms, cloud infrastructure, the construction of a major digital learning eco-system.
3. Digital Skills & Technology Adoption attending to:
- Digital skills development
- Technology adoption
Governor of the ECCB, Timothy Antoine, in quoting St Lucian Nobel Laureate Sir Derek Walcott, reminded the audience that “the future happens no matter how much we scream.”
“According to the World Bank, the digital economy will account for at least 25% of the global economy by 2025. Consequently, digital transformation is and must be, a fundamental part of the agenda for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. The ECCB believes that digital transformation is essential to our region’s economic recovery.”
Karlene Francis, the World Bank’s Senior Operations Officer for the Country Group Management Unit, is pleased with this ground-breaking initiative.
“This is the first-ever regional digital project in the World Bank that focuses on the five key elements of the digital economy. These elements are digital infrastructure, digital platform, digital financial services, digital skills, and digital businesses.”
Acting Managing Director of ECTEL, Cheryl Hector Fontenelle said she believes that CARDTP will improve the lives of the people of the OECS.
“As the regional regulator for electronic communications, we see our role as pivotal to ensure a firm foundation for the digital transformation of our economies. In particular, we believe our role is to ensure that all citizens have meaningful access to high-speed broadband as well as having a broadband structured value chain that is robust.”
Programme Coordinator at CARICOM IMPACS, Nadine Bushelle noted that as the region’s institution to coordinate cyber security and cybercrime initiatives, IMPACS is invested in protecting the people of the OECS with the move to a digital economy.
“If we have to achieve the move to a digital economy, cyber security is a must. We are keen on supporting the Member States in this project by ensuring they have the appropriate legislation, policies and strategies to guide their cyber security initiatives; a framework for national cyber security entities and; the capacity to ensure the sustainability of these initiatives.”