Antigua, the island of 365 beaches, was the location of the ICT Week and Symposium. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda, in collaboration with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), hosted this event from 20th – 24th March 2017, the theme of which was ICT – Driving 21st Century Intelligent Services.
Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Minister of Finance and Corporate Governance, in delivering the feature address at the Opening Ceremony, stated that everyone needs to get involved in ICT. “ICT is inclusive and all empowering. Promoting ICT is everyone’s responsibility; it is everyone’s business. We need to apply digital thinking and digital policies everywhere.”
The Secretary General of the CTU Ms. Bernadette Lewis in her opening remarks noted the global changes as a result of rapid technological innovation.
“The world has changed at a fundamental level as a result of rapid technological innovation and convergence of information and communication technologies, creating new modes of communication, erasing geographical boundaries, compressing time, providing real-time access to a global audience, changing the way business is conducted presenting a virtual reality into which more and more of our lives are becoming entwined,” she said.
Ms. Lewis encouraged delegates to embrace the transformative potential of ICT to secure the future. “We must carefully consider the transformative potential of information and communication technologies, and the build the new platforms and structures that can leverage their potential to secure our future.”
She further stated, “We would have to be courageous and prepared to discard the impotent systems that no longer serve our best interests and to put the technologies to work for our advancement and progress. Above all we have to move beyond the talk and to deliberate action.”
The week’s activities included a number of ICT events such as Smart Caribbean Conference, 15th Caribbean Ministerial Strategic ICT Seminar, 3rd Caribbean Stakeholders Meeting: Cyber security and Cyber Crime, Training Programme on Mobile Money for Financial Inclusion and culminates with a Workshop on ICT4PWD (People with Disabilities).
At the Smart Caribbean Conference, Huawei used its extensive global knowledge and experience in creating Smart Cities, to share its vision for developing ICT in the Caribbean region in all sectors, in support of the establishment of the CARICOM Single ICT Space. Participants learnt how cloud computing, virtualization, Big Data, Geographic Information System, the Internet of Things, the ecosystem Software Development Kit and other cutting-edge technologies can be used to create comprehensive, end-to-end Smart Caribbean solutions. Solutions include the safe city, smart city operations centres, one-stop government services, smart transportation and applications for healthcare and education.
The 15th Caribbean Ministerial Strategic ICT Seminar focussed on the application of ICT in the financial services sector and explored new modes of providing secure financial services for all citizens; the use of cryptocurrencies; cyber security and innovative ways of financing the region’s ICT development.
The Caribbean Stakeholders’ Meeting III: Cybersecurity and Cybercrime facilitated discussions for establishing appropriate measures and resources for implementing a Cyber Awareness Campaign as specified in the CARICOM Cyber Security and Cyber Crime Action Plan.
The Training Programme on Mobile Money for Financial Inclusion, facilitated by GSMA, provided an in-depth look at mobile money services — how they work, the stakeholders involved and the regulatory enablers, as well as critical issues such as cross- network interoperability.
The ICT4PWD Workshop which is part of an ongoing initiative by the CTU, is designed to promote inclusive human and social development. Facilitated by Kerry Gunness (blind) and Bryan Rodrigues (deaf), the Workshops demonstrated in a hands-on manner the power of ICT to empower individual PWDs, thereby helping them to lead more fulfilling lives.
A diverse group of stakeholders including Caribbean Ministers of Government from Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia; senior officials from diverse sectors including ICT, Finance, National Security, Health and Education attended the Seminar. More than two hundred participants attended the Week’s events.
The CTU wishes to thank their valued sponsors of this event: Platinum – Huawei; Gold – Cable & Wireless Communications; Other Sponsors – INCUS, American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), Digicel, FLOW and C&W Business Communications, Antigua Computer Technology (ACT).
The CTU’s next ICT Week will be hosted by the Government of The Bahamas in Nassau during the third week of September.