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Digitisation key in achieving regional integration

February 25, 2024
Photo: CMC

CMC – The President of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali says digitisation can play an instrumental role in regional development and integration.

Speaking on Saturday at the opening ceremony of the XII Annual Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) consultation with Caribbean Governors, the Guyanese President noted several key areas in which the lending institution can further support the development of the region, placing great emphasis on the promotion of digitisation.

The President explained that with the growing global reliance on digital technology to promote greater efficiency and productivity, a failure to promote this transition in the Caribbean region can present additional inequality and disparity challenges.

“The developing world has not even caught up with the developed world on industrialisation as yet, and we are now faced with the tremendous investment that is required in digitisation, in artificial intelligence (AI), and all these things. We need to develop urgently a digital strategy, an AI strategy for this region,” he highlighted.

This strategy must include aspects such as e-governance, digital entrepreneurship, and broadband infrastructure, according to the Head of State.

“If we are to integrate, that digital platform must be integrated from conceptualisation to implementation. We cannot all operate on a different platform. It will not help integration, so we have to take this very seriously,” he added.

The IDB organizes this consultative meeting annually with Governors of countries comprising its Caribbean Country Department in preparation for the Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors.

This consultation involves dialogue about the IDB Group’s new Institutional Strategy, the IDB Invest and IDB Lab resolutions, as well as the Group’s new “ONE Caribbean” regional programme.

In his address, the President said the benefits of digitisation stretch across a wide range of sectors, from healthcare to regional food security, education, and even transportation.

He added that Guyana is already taking steps to realise this transition through the implementation of e-governance initiatives.

The President also highlighted several additional measures that can be taken by the IDB to foster Caribbean development.

These include addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, improving social services, and enhancing private sector support.

“It is important for the Bank to reconsider and understand the state of the region when it comes to concessional financing and the categorisation of countries within the region. We cannot only look at GDP as an indicator. You have to look at social infrastructure. You have to look at poverty gaps, and you have to look at vulnerability. Vulnerability must be a key part,” the Head of State added.

This year, Guyana is hosting the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Ilan Goldfajn and a large delegation of Caribbean representatives of the financial institution, in addition to several finance ministers from the Caribbean Region, who will be discussing regional partnerships under the theme ‘Partnering for Resilience’.

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