Compete set to host Regional Policy Dialogue
This month marks the second Regional dialogue hosted by Compete Caribbean. The forum will take place on November 21st and 22nd at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC), Bridgetown, Barbados.
It will seek to share experiences and lessons learnt from the Compete Caribbean program (CC) and its donors and partners: the Government of Canada, the Department for International Development (DFID/UK), the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank.
The event will include key notes speaker from donor organizations, bringing their unique perspective of supporting growth and development in the Caribbean, and will host discussions with beneficiaries and key partners on Compete’s 4 instruments: knowledge production, business climate reform, innovation and inter-firm collaboration/clustering. The event seeks to extract lessons learned in the pursuit of promoting a Caribbean with a resilient business climate and innovative culture.
With the Program coming to a close at the end of the year, the Dialogue will also feature the first look at Compete Caribbean II- the next iteration of the multi-donor private sector development program that will continue its focus on business climate reform, promoting innovation amongst private sector actors and creating knowledge at country and regional level with the CARIFORUM states.
Grant Funding Available for Barbados ICT Companies
The CSF is a partner, along with 15 EU and Latin American countries, in the ERANET-LAC project. The ERANET-LAC project is a network of the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on Joint Innovation and Research Activities.
The CSF has been invited to participate in one of the ERANET-LAC selected projects in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) thematic area. The project named ITCity, concerns the applications of ICT to Energy for Smart Cities. The participating countries in this project are Latvia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Romania and Turkey. Because of the origin of the funds for this project, only Barbados companies are eligible.
For-profit, start-up and small companies (less than 25 employees) only are eligible to apply for this grant. The total amount of funding available from the CSF for this project is €20,000, and one grant award will be made. The proposal page count is limited to 4 pages. The application deadline is 11:59 pm, November 6, 2016. Please visit The CSF ERANET-LAC Page for more details and to download proposal template.
More general information about the ERANET-LAC project can be found at http://eranet-lac.eu/
Regional MediaThon Coming to Barbados
In a groundbreaking move, Compete Caribbean will host the first ever MediaThon in the Caribbean on November 22 & 23, 2016.
About 30 Caribbean media makers will descend on Barbados to participate in an experience designed to inspire creative ideas on science, technology and innovation (STI) within the communication ecosystem in the Caribbean.
Internationally acclaimed presenters from UNESCO, SciDev.net and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will be among the panelists discussing reporting on emerging innovation and technology, media narratives and tools for the digital age and STI in the Caribbean media among other relevant topics.
Sonia Gill, Secretary general of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) will act as facilitator of the panel discussions. Participants will have the opportunity to develop ideas and pitch to a panel of judges for the chance at tangible prizes.
A Single ICT Space for the Caribbean on the Horizon
Bridgetown, Barbados, January 27, 2016 – What would be the benefits of a single ICT space for the Caribbean?
The region recently took a major step towards achieving a single ICT space when representatives from various regulatory organisations around the Caribbean came together between January 25-27, 2016 at the Meeting/Workshop of the Spectrum Management Task Force and Steering Committee hosted by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), with support from Compete Caribbean.
Held in Barbados, the event provided a forum for regulators to collaborate on the draft of the Spectrum Management Strategic Plan which would be instrumental to the Harmonization of Spectrum Management Policies.
Benefits of this project are significant as it has prompted alignment of the Caribbean with international digital broadcasting and communication protocols. What does this mean for the average person? Nigel Cassimire, CTU Telecommunications Specialist explained: “This will positively impact increased access to wireless broadband by reducing cost and stimulating supply and demand.”
Meanwhile, Senator the Hon. Darcy W. Boyce, Barbadian minister responsible for telecommunications who is also the current President of the CTU: “There are also economic benefits to be derived from appropriate spectrum management as spectrum is the gateway towards developing economies of scale for private and public sector.”
Minister Boyce further pointed out: “I have asked the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) and Compete Caribbean to find a way of continuation and upscaling of the current spectrum project as it relates to competitiveness because they have done some very useful work but I want to make sure that it is implemented. I will try to see to what extent we can get other funding agencies involved with a specific plan to implement what is recommended in the Spectrum Management Strategic Plan.”
He further pointed out that spectrum management in the context of what it will do for competitiveness and therefore the growth of Caribbean economies is vital. “Nowadays, whether or not you are a services driven economy or you are a commodities driven economy, it is important to have good communications. And good communications depends partly on good spectrum management.”
Explaining that people generally do not realise how cross-cutting telecommunications is in societies and economies, Minister Boyce said telecommunications is often taken for granted. “Those of us involved in the field have to make sure that we keep current in order for our economies to remain on the cutting edge in order to become more competitive. Part of this is ensuring that our spectrum management is of the highest quality.”
The Barbadian senator added: “Where I want Caribbean telecommunications to go is top class, comparable to any international market because that is where we are going to have to compete with the quality and service that we provide. Quality has to be uppermost in our minds.”
Drawing an analogy to further illustrate his point, Minister Boyce concluded: “I like to consider spectrum as a highway and the management of it is making sure the lanes don’t merge too suddenly and that we have sufficient and proper traffic lights and police to make sure that the traffic flows rather than stands still. That is exactly how I would like to explain it to people. If your roads are choked, a lot of time is wasted. Part of what we are also having is this exponential growth in demands for a telecommunication highway, spectrum.”
Moving Towards Better and Faster Internet in the Caribbean
Bridgetown, Barbados, January 27, 2015 – In the Caribbean, broadband services are beleaguered by high costs and low quality connections, plus approximately only one in every eight persons has access to such services. Recent IDB studies reveal that a ten per cent increase in broadband penetration can increase economic growth by up to 3.19% and productivity by up to 2.61%.
Furthermore, access to efficient broadband services can reduce the cost of educational services by up to 90% and drop health care service costs by as much as 25%. Given these findings, it is evident that broadband can serve as a catalyst for development and competitiveness.
Compete Caribbean recently supported the inclusion of the OECS as a larger initiative being executed by the IDB which promotes universal and affordable broadband services through digital inclusion. Among other outputs related to improving connectivity in the region, the project also included the creation of broadband and infrastructure maps for the OECS which will be included in the DigiLAC platform, which is expected to promote a greater dialogue on issues related to broadband in the Caribbean and the Hemisphere in general.
The maps include 37 socio-economic variables as detailed as the parish level which are the basis for a broadband development index which captures the overall state of broadband services in each jurisdiction. Additionally, they feature 13 indicators that represent the stage of development of broadband in relation to other services such as health care and access to electricity.
The maps will serve to raise awareness regarding policies that support broadband implementation in each country and assist public and private decision makers as the region strives to integrate into a single ICT space that provides better, faster, and more reliable connectivity to everyone in the Caribbean.
The maps are available through an online portal created by the IDB – digiLAC.
Impact Investment in the Caribbean
Impact Investing is an emerging industry which entails investors actively placing capital in businesses and funds that generate social and/or environmental goods and at least return nominal principal to the investor. This project partnered with the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) to examine the existing impact investment activities in Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago; the feasibility of increased activity in this area including the demand for and availability of such financing; and the role of government policy in creating an enabling environment for impact investment in the region.
Identifying Sustainable Agricultural Initiatives in the Caribbean
This project partners with the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund to study sustainable agriculture in Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas and Trinidad and& Tobago. It examines current developments in sustainable agriculture in this country, analyses specific challenges, and identifies opportunities, taking into consideration trade liberalization, food safety, quality and security, rising food prices, the expansion of niche markets, diversification, climate change and environmental sustainability.