Roseau, Dominica – May 2, 2008……… In support of its diversification programme, the Government of Dominica is seeking to build a knowledge-based economy in Dominica with an investment of 4.4 million euros ($17 Million ECD) in the implementation of its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Development Programme.
ICT is the use of computer and computer related technologies utilising telecommunications networks.
The Contracting Authority for the ICT Development Programme is the Ministry of Housing, Lands and Telecommunications. The programme got underway in October, 2007.
Using resources from the European Union’s Special Framework of Assistance SFA 2005, the ICT Development Programme is intended to infuse new dynamism in the key drivers of growth in the economy, namely, tourism, agriculture, services, manufacturing and education using Information and Communication Technologies.
The following are the outcomes expected from the two-year programme:
· ICT and e-business Development Strategy: this will produce, among other outputs, a National ICT Strategy based on the input of all stakeholders for the enhanced competitiveness in the rural and wider economy through application of ICTs.
· Capacity-Building Enhancing Skills: to establish a technologically savvy society, a necessary prerequisite if Dominica is to successfully use ICT for its economic development. The training of up to 300 teachers to deliver basic ICT training and equipping primary and secondary schools with sufficient computer equipment. The training of at least 50% of secondary school leavers attaining International Computer Driving Licence qualification by the end of the programme.
· Legislative and regulatory framework- to create the environment conducive for the further development of the ICT sector and the attraction of more Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) into Dominica to support the diversification of the economy.
· Business-oriented e-government initiatives: the use of ICTs for government to better facilitate the public and the reduction in costs to government.
· National E-business incubator: A network of four (4) community resource centres is being development to work closely with the National E-Business Incubator Centre to deliver high quality services to business users within their primary market areas. At least 150 existing and new businesses will be assisted to make effective use of ICTs to improve business performance through the Incubator centre and its associated access centres.
· Regional Coordination: The outcomes will be the exchange of experiences and expertise between stakeholders from all SFA-eligible countries in our region (Windward Islands).
The implementation of the ICT Development Programme is an effort by Government to realise its goal of building a knowledge-based economy in Dominica and further integrate Dominica in the global economy.
It is also an essential component of its strategy to diversify the economy after decades of over-dependence on one sphere of economic activity, namely, agriculture, for the island’s economic survival.