Regional updates: Caribbean

What were the main digital policy regional updates in the Caribbean? This space brings you the main updates month by month, summarised by the observatory's curators.

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January 2019

Curated by 

Wanda M. Pérez Peña

Building the Caribbean digital economy bit by bit

16 Jan 2019 | 

Telecommunications infrastructure

In partnership with Digicel, three small island states from the Caribbean: Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent, started the development of a future-proofed broadband infrastructure that will connect homes, schools, government offices, and businesses to each other and the rest of the world by 2020. This project received technical and financial assistance from the World Bank.

In July 2018, through the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) as coordinator, the three countries signed contracts with Digicel in order to build up government and educational networks, and a new submarine cable.

The innovative contracting process and resulting public private partnership (PPP) structure is a first for digital infrastructure in the region. It is also the first project of this magnitude, requiring approximately USD$45 million from governments and private partners. This allowed all three governments to obtain substantial economies of scale, allowing lower pricing and better quality of service than if they had purchased the networks separately.

Partnership between Microsoft and the IICA will provide technology to transform agriculture in the Americas

28 Jan 2019 | 

Global public goods

Pursuing the acceleration of agriculture’s digital transformation in the Americas and the Caribbean, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and Microsoft have outlined actions to be jointly implemented as part of their Digital Educational Partnership. To achieve this transformation, they will support the dissemination of knowledge as well as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and artificial intelligence in the agricultural sector.

The partnership between Microsoft and the IICA will provide technology to transform agriculture in the Americas through innovation, various tools for collecting and disseminating data related to crops, production, the use and availability of water resources, as well as climatic conditions, for improved decision making.

Pilot programmes will be executed in Brazil and Argentina, based on the priorities established within the framework of the agreement that both organisations signed in October 2018 for the benefit of rural areas in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

IDB and Microsoft’s partnership will extend digital transparency platform throughout Latin America and the Caribbean

28 Jan 2019 | 

Development - other

In 2017, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the InvestmentMap, an information management tool that supports transparency and efficiency of Latin American and Caribbean public investments. At the time of the launch, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Paraguay were the first Latin-American’s countries scheduled to launch InvestmentMap.

Expansion was a key component of the action plan announced in 2017, and now,  new platforms are being developed in Argentina, the Bahamas, and Jamaica, while additional countries are being considered.

The InvestmentMap includes information on the funding and progress of individual projects at national, subnational, and local levels. These platforms are created by the IDB in collaboration with Microsoft, which provides cloud, and design support. In the next round, InvestmentMap will feature new artificial intelligence and data analytics capabilities to gather insights and improve decision making among policymakers.


December 2018

Curated by 

Andre Edwards

Blockchain data network Shyft partners with Bitt to secure transactions for the Caribbean

3 Dec 2018 | 

The signing of a Letter of Understanding between Barbados-based fintech company Bitt that facilitates secure peer-to-peer transactions through its mobile payments software, mMoney and Shyft, the global blockchain-based network that facilitates the secure sharing of attested and compliant data, has been announced.

Through this partnership, Bitt will become an active ecosystem participant leveraging the Shyft network to fulfill data transaction needs across Caribbean territories. The companies will leverage their capabilities to fulfill the mandate to strengthen correspondent banking regionally, while simultaneously reducing KYC and AML compliance costs.


November 2018

Curated by 

Wanda M. Pérez Peña

Caribbean Examinations Council to issue blockchain certificates

1 Nov 2018 | 

Online education

The verification process of educational credentials in the Caribbean will now be faster after the regional examinations body announced it will begin offering blockchain-based certificates and diplomas to selected candidates.

The e-certificates will be received via the free and open-source Blockcerts Wallet which is not only used for storing and sharing, but also for verifying the performance of candidates in examinations administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

Currently, the examining body offers educational certifications to sixteen English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean region.

Issuing of the Blockcerts will be done using the federated issuing system of the Learning Machine which is an enterprise platform designed for multinationals as well as countries that need to digitise the issuance as well as verification of official records.

Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court introduces Electronic Litigation System

2 Nov 2018 | 

Jurisdiction

For the electronic management of cases, an Integrated Electronic Litigation (e-Litigation) system is being implemented by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), within all courts in all the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) for the electronic management of cases.

The e-Litigation solution is a web-based application that will provide court users and stakeholders with access to assigned services anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

This portal is supposed to serve as a platform to improve the delivery of justice to the citizens of the region, and contribute towards increasing the transparency of court services, allowing the ECSC to improve access of its services to stakeholders.

Improving Digital Education in Latin America and the Caribbean

6 Nov 2018 | 

Capacity development, Development - other

Governments in the region have explored the use of educational technologies to address some of these challenges. Latin American ministries of education have spent over USD$2 billion on digital devices to improve education since 2008. However, these investments have typically led to limited improvements in learning performance.

The Improving Digital Education in Latin America initiative, coordinated by Centro Ceibal para el Estudio de las Tecnologías Digitales en la Educación (Fundación Ceibal), aims to generate relevant policy knowledge to facilitate more inclusive, equitable and quality education through digital tools. It will build a network of researchers and policy makers to produce knowledge and recommendations to inform policy and interventions in digital education.

The International Development Research Center (IDRC) will invest CAD$ 1.3 million during the 3 years of the project, while Fundación Ceibal and the National Research and Innovation Agency of Uruguay (ANII), will be contributing USD$1.5 million during the same period to support solution-oriented knowledge on some of the issues identified by the project.

The Bahamas Designs New Regulations for Battling Phony ICOs

10 Nov 2018 | 

E-Money and virtual currencies

The Central Bank of The Bahamas has issued a document detailing amendments to the regulatory framework that are geared towards helping the integration of digital assets within its financial services offerings. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a popular capital raising tactic for start-ups globally.

Many new business have raised funds for their operations quickly by allowing investors to offer capital, usually in the form of Ethereum-based tokens, which are exchanged for a new coin that is used to access the firm’s goods and services. Detecting fraudulent ICOs has proven to be quite difficult. .

The Central Bank document is based on recent suggestions made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and is aimed at reducing the fragmentation that exists within the current regulation and is expected to make the identification of phony ICOs easier for regulators.


October 2018

Curated by 

Andre Edwards

Barbados Stock Exchange to begin crypto-trading

1 Oct 2018 | 

E-Money and virtual currencies,

The Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) will join the blockchain revolution by opening up a market for crypto-assets soon, BSE Managing Director Marlon Yarde has revealed. The stock exchange is anticipating regulatory approval for the trade in securitized digital tokens, while proceeding on a three-prong plan to boost the exchange’s global profile, he said. Crypto-asset is the umbrella term for a digital asset or token which uses cryptography, peer-to-peer networking, and a public ledger to regulate the creation of new units, verify

transactions, and secure the transactions without a middleman’s intervention. “With the onset of [the] tokenization revolution, the BSE is focused on facilitating and trading of those securitized tokens.”

Industry stakeholders join forces for a better digital economy

11 Oct 2018 | 

Cybersecurity, Access, Telecommunications infrastructure

During Internet Week Trinidad and Tobago, held by the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), Google, the Internet Society, the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Registry (LACNIC), and the Ministry of Public Administration, parallel capacity building sessions were held. CaribNOG hosted its 16th regional meeting focused mainly on cybersecurity. Joint workshops by LACNIC and Google aimed to enhance local connectivity and strengthen the ecosystem for entrepreneurs. A LACNIC-Google two-day workshop covered the basics of Internet connectivity and traffic optimisation. The Internet Society highlighted the organisation’s ongoing global work in establishing community networks and strengthening the resiliency of telecommunications and computer networks. LACNIC led a closed-door cybersecurity workshop with the support of the office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, seeking to address emerging cybersecurity issues across the region and to establish computer security incident response teams (CSIRTs).

Caribbean nationals victorious in ARIN elections

16 Oct 2018 | 

Internet protocol (IP) numbers

Three Caribbean candidates—Peter Harrison, Alicia Trotman and Kerrie-Ann Richards—have been elected to leadership roles at the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN). ARIN is one of five Internet registries worldwide that coordinate the distribution and administration of number resources. The registry serves the United States, Canada and several territories in the Caribbean. “The Caribbean should be very proud of the achievement of Peter, Alicia and Kerrie-Ann in the ARIN elections. They are all highly qualified to serve, each possessing both the technical knowledge and firm grasp of the unique dynamics of the ARIN community in the Caribbean. I expect they will make a positive impact on ARIN, its diverse community and more broadly on development of the Internet in the region,” said Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Liaison at ARIN. All elected candidates will serve a three-year term, starting from January 1, 2019.


September 2018

Curated by 

Wanda M. Pérez Peña

SES-14 goes operational to serve the Americas and Caribbean

4 Sep 2018 | 

Telecommunications infrastructure

SES has announced that the high-powered all-electric SES-14 satellite, is now serving Latin America, the Caribbean, and other regions.

SES-14's wide beams and high throughput capabilities are serving various markets. The satellite is expanding the reach of SES's second cable neighbourhood in Latin America, providing new capacity for direct-to-home services. Moreover, it delivers more high-speed connectivity to the dynamic aeronautical market and other traffic-intensive applications in the maritime and cellular backhaul markets.

Three Caribbean countries enter into an historic agreement to build out their broadband network

5 Sep 2018 | 

Telecommunications infrastructure

Under an historic public-private partnerships (PPP) arrangement, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have decided to collaborate to build out of their broadband infrastructure, contracting Digicel to undertake the work. The signing of the contracts will take place on Wednesday 26th September 2018 during the Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s (CTU) ICT Week – St. Kitts and Nevis.

These broadband network build outs constitute key elements of the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP), a regional approach to public infrastructure development funded by the World Bank’s International Development Association and coordinated by the CTU.

This initiative aims to provide connectivity to all government offices and schools in each country.

Central American and Caribbean countries to facilitate the release of the Digital Dividend

19 Sep 2018 | 

Telecommunications infrastructure

The 4th ITU Regional Frequency Coordination Meeting for Central America and Caribbean Region took place in Belize City, on 11-14 September 2018. This was the last of four meetings coordinated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in collaboration with other organisations, which established the basis for formal frequency coordination inter-government agreements for broadcasting and mobile services in the VHF and UHF bands.

The Director of ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau, Mr François Rancy, indicated that 'The Digital Switch Over enables the release of the Digital Dividend, the implementation of which is a major step in reducing the digital divide and probably involves the most important decisions taken by regulators to ensure that mobile broadband is available to all populations at an affordable price'.

The outputs of these meetings facilitate the region's transition from analog to Digital Terrestrial Television and the allocation of the Digital Dividend.

 

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