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Boosting Jamaica’s Digital Economy

Peter Howard Wertheim and Dayse Abrantes – International Journalists
peter.howard@thebridge.social / dayse.abrantes@thebridge.social

Considering the worldwide technological evolution, Jamaica started to work with the objective of converting itself into a digital economy.

To this end, the authorities are seeking to create opportunities and a guideline to take advantage of new productive conditions.

In this sense, it passed a law that creates a national identification system being reported by the Brecha Zero publication.

Thus, the objective of the Jamaican authorities is to create an environment in which every citizen can participate in the digital world.

This process is generally referred to as “digital transformation“, which has been the natural response to the rapid changes that have been brought about by the advancement of digital technologies and their penetration in all segments of society.

For governments and companies, the digital transformation can improve contemporary measures, such as cost, competitiveness, adaptability to innovation, access, quality and speed.

For citizens, it offers convenience, flexibility and can unlock new sources of business and employment opportunities, according to an LSE article.

Jamaica Plunging into Digital Transformation

As a result, small island developing states (SIDS) like Jamaica, facing well-documented capacity challenges, were encouraged to accelerate their pace of digital transformation to unlock economic competitiveness, optimize the use of scarce resources, improve service delivery, stimulate new business opportunities, as well as improve results and satisfaction at all levels of social interactions.

The government received a 650 kilometers donation of fiber optic cables from local cable television providers and from the two main toll road operators to help improve the country’s broadband connectivity.

Cable television operators include the island’s two largest cable providers and 34 small rural cable providers.

“Fiber optic cables will be part of the National Fiber Optic Communication Backbone to enable high-speed data services between public government facilities.

We were lucky to have a good response from the private sector, specifically from the private owners of fiber optic cables,” said Michael Saunderson, Operations Manager, of the Traffic Management Unit at the National Works Agency.

Michael Saunderson, Operations Manager, of the Traffic Management Unit at the National Works Agency

Mr. Saunderson noted that the work and testing started with the use of cables.

“We started to unite the cables and tested from Kingston to Santa Cruz with a bandwidth of 10 gigabits, so we know that the system works,” he said.

Emergent economies are tech too

Aerospace engineer by training, with more than 16 years of experience as a Specialist in Technology Policy and Consultant / Entrepreneur in ICT for Development.

Ayanna defends entrepreneurship and socioeconomic development in emerging economies using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), with a focus on the Caribbean.

Allow your passion to become your purpose.

Jamaican space engineer Ayanna Samuels – MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

The Vision 2030 Jamaica, a strategic roadmap to guide the country towards achieving   sustainable development and prosperity goals by 2030, regards the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector as playing a central role in the transformation of Jamaica over the next two decades, as the nation travels the path to transition to a developed country.

Over the past few years, the country has witnessed an increasing use of computers and the Internet, a dramatic expansion in the number and range of telecommunications and media providers and the growth of ICT applications in companies, schools and homes. (Source: Jamaica Observer – July 15, 2020)

Attracting international business

The advances that Jamaica is making towards a digital economy is an opportunity to improve the country’s positioning globally.

And it is attracting Startups from several countries to boost the digitization process.

This technological advance has also made it possible for professionals of other nationalities to bring knowledge and expertise to Jamaica.

A proof of this was the action of the Startup The Bridge – in Chile, and also in Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Colombia and Portugal in attracting professionals from Latin America to work with Jamaica.

According to Bernardo Carvalho Wertheim, CEO of The Bridge, the work will be 100% remote and with the possibility of traveling to Jamaica in June 2021.

The executive said that a new batch of digital transformation jobs will be carried out.

The projects focus on professionals Agile coach, Mobile, Backend Devs, Chief digital officer, UX, UI and more! among the main ones.

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Meet the Author

Peter Howard Wertheim & Dayse Abrantes - International Journalists

hwpeter15@gmail.com jornalistadayseabrantes@gmail.com

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