The government is hoping that the implementation of a Digital Economy will advance and safeguard Dominica’s future.
Digital Economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies, although people increasingly perceive this as conducting business through markets based on the internet and the World Wide Web.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said at a press briefing on Monday, that the Digital Economy forms part of a number of important blocks for the creation of a Dynamic Dominica.
“We believe that this is a very important announcement by the government sharing with the public its plans to implement a very critical aspect of the government’s efforts towards the creation of, first of all, the overarching vision of creating a resilient nation, but also creating the dynamic Dominica,” he said.
Firms like the World Bank according to Skerrit played an important role in the formulation of Dominica’s Digital Economy.
“…We have been in engagement with the World Bank over a period of time to seek their assistance in providing both technical and financial resources in order to help us fashion that plan of a digital economy,” he said.
According to Skerrit, the World Bank was also contacted, “to see if they can provide us with some of the resources required to put the various building blocks in place to allow us to realize that very important objective of the government.”
Just last week, the Cabinet authorized the Minister of Finance -who is also the prime minister-to contract a highly concessionary loan of EC$53 million or US$20 to help Dominica to implement the various building blocks.
“We believe that this is of extreme importance to the country, because if we are successful in implementing this strategy there would be many attendant benefits to it,” Skerrit said.
He is of the belief that it would make Dominica more efficient, more attractive to foreign direct investment, provide better paying jobs, especially for young professionals.
“It will also improve the efficiency for how government conducts business,” he said.
He also believes that this approach will make the economy a bit more resilient.
The prime minister called on young people to embrace this opportunity.
“We have to continue empowering young people as I have done in the formulation of the Cabinet, bringing in young talented people to help to create the dynamic Dominica, to help build a resilient nation,” he stated.
Adding, “young people cannot just sit down on Facebook, on social media and criticize, come in and work. We are challenging young people who believe they have the talent, skills, competences…”
Prime Minister Skerrit revealed that very soon an announcement will be sent out with an application where interested persons can apply. One of the requirements is the interested applicants must be 35 years and under.
“I believe if we can get this right, we will address a number of critical issues in Dominica,” he said.
Meantime, Minister for Public Works and the Digital Economy, Senator Cassanni Laville said a digitally transformed Dominica will drive economic growth, provide convenience to people here and abroad who wants to transact business in Dominica.
“It will reduce time and cost of doing business and will improve overall service delivery,” he stated.
He said this digital economy transformation is along the critical path of the country’s sustainable development.
Laville said further that numerous stakeholders have been engaged including the World Bank, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), various ministries, organizations and the private sector to investigate the challenges and develop initiatives.
“This assessment to our digital economy revealed challenges associated with geographic remoteness,” he noted.
The Digital Economy will allow every individual and company to have access to high-speed internet, low cost and reliable broadband services to enhance overall connectivity and communication.
And according to Laville, “the availability of digital financial services to ensure that every individual, business and government can carry our financial transactions digitally including E-payments and transactions accounts.”
Enhancing skills by ensuring that every individual is able to access digital services and commerce forms part of the key components, Laville added.