• Information and communication technologies for disaster risk management in the Caribbean

    Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be used support the practice of disaster risk management (DRM) in times of crisis, as well as in times of planning and in times of reconstruction. The revolutionary potential of ICTs lies in their ability to instantaneously connect vast networks of individuals and organizations across great geographic distances, and to facilitate fast flows of information, capital, ideas, people and products. ICTs have become essential tools for cooperation and collaboration.
    This paper examines the role of information and communications technologies for disaster risk management with a specific focus on the Caribbean. The study includes a review of the literature and case studies, as well the administration of a survey instrument that collected the feedback of 13 regional national DRM agencies.

    Read Full Article Here: Information and communication technologies for disaster risk management in the Caribbean

  • Programme to enhance the Establishment of e-Commerce Regimes and the Adoption of e- Commerce by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) in CARIFORUM

    E-commerce and e-business hold great potential and opportunities for SMEs in the CARIFORUM region. Besides access to new and bigger markets, such electronically mediated trade can help to bring about reduced costs and faster turnaround times by streamlining and integrating processes along the entire business value chain. Nevertheless, in the Caribbean an integrated strategy to assist SMEs in benefitting from e-commerce has hitherto been lacking. The present document aims at correcting this situation. In particular, the strategies proposed are hoped to help Caribbean firms to not only increase intra-regional goods and services trade through e-commerce but also to capitalise on the opportunities created by the CARIFORUM States’ Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. In this sense, the strategy has been formulated after examining the operational and legal issues surrounding e-commerce in CARIFORUM. It recommends specific, tangible interventions to be made in the context of programmes aimed at enhancing the use of e-commerce by SMEs in CARIFORUM by addressing specific challenges they face.

    Read Full Article Here: Programme to enhance the Establishment of e-Commerce Regimes and the Adoption of e- Commerce by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMES) in CARIFORUM

  • Regional Synthesis of ICT Uptake and Usage in Agricultural Value Chains in the Caribbean

    The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) with support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) commissioned a Trinidad-based consulting firm (INFOCOMM Technologies Ltd.) to conduct a regional study on ICT usage in Caribbean agriculture value chains, with a specific focus on the value chains associated with domestically produced root crops and small ruminants (sweet potato and cassava and sheep and goats, respectively). The targeted value chains were: (1) fresh use and primary processing enterprises for cassava and sweet potato and;(2) meat (lamb, mutton and chevron) for sheep and goats. The use of ICT in the broader agricultural value chains, irrespective of commodities, was also investigated. This study was part of a larger CTA/CARDI project that aimed to strengthen agricultural value chains through increased ICT integration within the agricultural sectors of the region.

    Read Full Article Here: Regional Synthesis of ICT Uptake and Usage in Agricultural Value Chains in the Caribbean

  • Framework for Assessing National E-Agriculture Readiness

    The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has as its mission, to advance food and nutritional security, increase prosperity and encourage sound natural resource management in ACP countries. One of CTA’s work areas is promoting the application of ICTs for agricultural value chain development, and for agriculture and rural development policy processes. As part of this work focus, the CTA sought to develop a generic e-Agriculture Readiness Assessment Framework (e-ARAF) to objectively assess the capability of a nation’s agricultural sector to benefit from the uptake and usage of new ICTs. This framework facilitates this assessment along the five core areas or pillars: (a) business environment; (b) governance (structure and guidelines); (c) human resource capability; (d) psychographics (culture and mindset); (e) ICT infrastructure.The e-ARAF is based on the INFOCOMM Technologies Ltd e-Readiness Framework – one of the few e-readiness frameworks which gives significant holistic consideration to factors beyond issues of access to devices, software, connectivity and human capacity. The Framework gives attention complementarily to broader issues, including the business environment, sector governance and the ICT culture and mindset.It is expected that the e-ARAF will be matured into an ACP-wide and/or Global index which will assist policy planners and national strategists to establish priorities for their local sector and facilitate effective investment into e-Agriculture. The tool is intended for use by governments, agriculture organisations, academics, policy makers, development partners, private sector entities, and others who seek to advance the Agriculture through the use of ICTs.

    Read Full Article Here: Framework for Assessing National E-Agriculture Readiness

  • Energy and Energy-Related Industries

    Introduction

    Trinidad and Tobago is one of the many global oil and gas producers which have been hit hard by the precipitous drop in global energy commodity prices over the last two years. One of the main drivers of this decrease in prices has been a dramatic increase in the supply of oil and gas from shale reservoirs. There have been major discoveries, not only in the USA – who is now setting to become a dominant energy exporter – but also in East and West Africa, Israel and Lebanon, to name a few.

    Consequently, world energy prices are not expected to rebound to pre-2014 prices within the mid-term horizon.

    This isn’t to say, however, that the energy business is no longer profitable. During the period of high prices, there was inflated demand for services and equipment, which drove costs up for energy services. New rigs, new seismic vessels etc. were built, while new supplies of steel and engineering services had to be added. The high prices allowed energy services companies to pay off financing and other operational/ commercial debts. When prices dropped, there was an oversupply which has in turn led to Exploration and Production (E&P) costs coming down by over 40% overall. Thus, precipitous price decreases haven’t necessarily meant equivalently precipitous drops in profitability for oil companies.

    Read Full Article Here: Energy and Energy-Related Industries

  • ICT Unleashing The Potential

    Since the liberalisation of its telecommunications sector 13 years ago, Trinidad and Tobago has moved from having the 2nd highest broadband tariffs (most costly), to being the most affordable broadband destination in the Caribbean region. Trinidad and Tobago now ranks #16 in the world in respect of the monthly subscription charge for fixed (wired) broadband Internet service, being more affordable than countries such as Japan (21), Switzerland (34), India (36), France (37) and Estonia (50).

    Trinidad and Tobago was one of the first Caribbean countries to open up its telecommunications sector. The Telecommunications Act – the piece of legislation which governs the broadcasting and telecommunications sector – was amended in 2005 to facilitate new entrants into a sector which was previously dominated by the State telecommunications provider, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT).

    Read Full Article Here: ICT Unleashing The Potential

  • Information and Communications Technology

    Over the last 10-15 years, Trinidad and Tobago has done well to lay a platform of ICT infrastructure and connectivity. This infrastructure includes multiple data centres, an Internet Exchange Point (IXP), hosting facilities, a DNS root server, five international subsea cables as well as terrestrial fibre. Mobile network coverage is at 100% and mobile penetration has hovered around 145% over the last three years, which ranks this small Caribbean nation in the top quartile globally.

    Market Evolution

    Over the last few years, the telecommunications sector has gone through several rounds of increased competition, thereby enhancing affordability, which has led to accelerated market consolidation. In 2014, Digicel, the largest mobile player in the region, bought the submarine cable assets of Global Caribbean Fibre and Global Caribbean Network to create a fibre optic cable network of approximately 3,100km providing capacity from Trinidad in the southern Caribbean to Puerto Rico in the north.

    Read Full Article Here: Information and Communications Technology

     

  • The Digital Commerce Opportunity

    There are a number of fundamental underlying trends which have contributed to the explosion of digital commerce in Trinidad and Tobago and globally. Increased competition (resulting in lower prices), traffic, crime, convenience, as well as increased broadband affordability and device availability have all converged to make digital channels increasingly popular.

    Trinidad and Tobago has done well, in general terms, to lay a platform of infrastructure and connectivity over the last 10-15 years. Citizens have also responded aggressively, with uptake rates in certain segments (particularly mobile) within the top quartile globally.

    Read Full Article Here: The Digital Commerce Opportunity

  • Can Tobago Be A Sustainability Model?

    In order for an economy to achieve sustainable development, the three pillars of sustainability must be adequately addressed i.e. the economic, social and environmental pillars. Due to their inherent reliance on environmental persistence and social stability, economies which thrive on sustainable forms of tourism such as ecological tourism, are good candidates for achieving sustainability.

    In the case of Tobago economy, while there is work to be done to optimise the social and environmental pillars, this article will discuss possible strategies which can serve to optimise the economic sustainability of the Tobago tourism product.

    Organise the Sector Stakeholders

    A major vessel in the tourism space for capturing value is the group of MSMEs which operate in the various parts of the sector. I refer in particular to the various small scale operators such as taxi drivers, tour guides, transport rental companies and bed & breakfast inns which heavily influence the tourist experience and perception of the destination.

    Establishing a registry of these actors can provide information on how many operators there are, what services they provide and where gaps lie. Such information can be very useful in formulating policy for the sector, with a view to maximising tourist spend. Beyond this, the registry could be leveraged to commit the tourist dollar to our coffers even before arrival, by making operator profiles publicly accessible online and facilitating online pre-payment for services.

    Read Full Article Here: Can Tobago Be A Sustainability Model?

  • Micro and Small Enterprises and Diversification

    There is a commonly held hope in the potential of the small business sector and entrepreneurship to contribute substantially to national economic diversification, poverty alleviation and national wealth. Although popularly echoed from many government and international agency quarters, in Trinidad and Tobago and the Region, there continues to be an ambient dissatisfaction with the progress made to date to realise SME potential, while the dream of diversification of the national economy remains largely unfulfilled.

    The Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Labour, Small and Micro Enterprise Development’s Draft MSE (Micro and Small Enterprises) Development Policy 2014-2016 cites that “an estimated 25,000 registered businesses or 90% of all registered businesses in Trinidad and Tobago are recognised as micro or small”. Clearly a number of MSEs already exist in-country. It can be argued therefore, that MSE development efforts going forward may not need to emphasise encouraging new business formation, but rather to focus on expanding the capacity of existing MSEs such that they are able to contribute more sustainably and substantially to the national economy and long-standing economic diversification aspirations.

    Read Full Article Here: Contact Magazine – Q3 2016