ROSEAU, Dominica — The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) of Dominica has taken a vital step towards creating the country’s indigenous mobile app industry.
The NTRC and the Dominica State College, in partnership with Bright Path Foundation, recently launched a multiplatform mobile application development workshop aimed at clearing the path for the country to enter the global app economy, which is worth an estimated US$53 billion, and expected to rise to US$143 billion by 2017.
The Dominican market is primed for indigenous apps. The small Caribbean island has a mobile penetration rate of approximately 147%, with a growing number of smartphone and mobile apps users. However, only a very limited number of mobile apps address Dominica’s needs.
“The NTRC believes it is time for Dominica to become an active participant in the global mobile application economy,” said Craig Nesty, executive director of the NTRC.
Also speaking at the launch of the workshop were parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for ICT, Kelver Darroux, and minister for information, telecommunication and constituency empowerment, Ambrose George.
Underscoring the social and economic dimension of technology innovation, both officials challenged the workshop participants to come up with ideas for mobile apps that would help in the delivery of government services and in the development of the agriculture sector. Their audience was a cross-section of Dominican society — a mix of students, entrepreneurs, public servants and lecturers.
“In Dominica, the use of mobile has expanded tremendously over the last few years and thus the opportunity to link mobile to eGovernment solutions and services will be critical to the transformation of Dominica,” Darroux said.
The workshop, which runs from August 19 to 24 at Dominica State College in the capital city of Roseau, forms part of the BrightPath iCAN Local Content Development Programme, which aims to encourage regional developers to design apps that are relevant to both the Caribbean and the global market.
“We are most pleased to have partnered with key industry players who have teamed up to drive mobile application innovation in Dominica. Our programme is designed to encourage technology enthusiasts to get actively involved in the creation of an ecosystem of local content and local apps for Dominica and the wider Caribbean,” said Bevil Wooding, founder and executive director of BrightPath.
Wooding encouraged participants to take the opportunity to move from being mere consumers of the technology to become producers of technology products and services.