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Project to increase access to quality and affordable ICT launched

Project to increase access to quality and affordable ICT launched

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Tue Sep 24, 2013

St Vincent and the Grenadines has joined St Lucia and Grenada in participating in the first phase of a regional programme, which targets CARIFORUM countries, enabling them to increase access to quality and affordable ICT services.{{more}}

The project, dubbed Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP), was officially launched at Frenches House on Monday. The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank is funding the project at an estimated cost of US$6.0 million. The Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) will coordinate the implementation of CARCIP, to increase coordination, harmonize policies and strategies and transfer knowledge between participating countries.

Delivering the feature address at the launch of the project yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Consumer Affairs and ICT Camillo Gonsalves said that while he has been on the job for only a few days, CARCIP immediately stands out as one of the most exciting and potentially transformative initiatives in SVG. He added that if properly implemented and managed, the initiative will “improve the quality, transparency and efficiency of governance through a wide variety of egovernance and e-society applications. It will contribute meaningfully to the development of the regional IT industry and improve the ability of the private sector to harness the power of IT in their businesses.”

Gonsalves said that CARCIP will also enable Vincentians to access cheaper, faster and more widely available broad band Internet which can unlock the vast untapped potential and creativity of our Vincentian youth. The Minister added that the government has long recognized the immense potential of fast, cheap, accessible Internet for national development.

Gonsalves went on to list some of the impressive accomplishments of the government over the years.

The establishment of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (NTRC) which was integral to the liberalization of the telecommunications sector; the establishment of a national centre for technological innovation; the Universal Service Fund, which takes a small percentage from the service providers to fund a number of projects and facilitate Internet and ICT access in SVG were among the examples the Minister pointed to as evidence of the government’s commitment to the development of the ICT sector.

Meanwhile, secretary general of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union Bernadette Lewis, in congratulating SVG on the milestone of launching CARCI,. said that the initiative “represents an opportunity to employ the creativity and the intellect of our people in leveraging its resources to promote national development.”

And director of Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister Jerrol Thompson said that he is excited about the prospects and opportunities that CARCIP offers to the people of SVG and the region and in particular the youth. “No longer are the drivers of technology only occurring in the US, the UK and Europe. There are now no borders; that bright idea can start right here in SVG and other parts of the Caribbean!” Thompson said.

The CARCIP project is expected to conclude on February 1st, 2017.

The IDP provides interest-free loans and grants to governments of the world’s poorest countries.(API)

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