Can the Caribbean truly compete with the world leaders in Telecoms and ICT?

Caribbean countries want to be the best, especially in telecoms and ICT, but do they truly have the wherewithal, or the desire, to do so?

As Caribbean countries have become more aware of their place in the world, and interested in how they measure up across a broad range of performance indicators, increasingly there is a desire to be ranked among the best: the world leaders. However as developing countries, and more importantly Small Island Developing States, most countries do not have the resources to truly compete with the ‘big boys’.

It is thus with some bemusement and amusement that the urgings of the Minister with responsibility for telecoms in Barbados, Senator Darcy Boyce, were met:

Speaking at the launch of the Barbados Internet Exchange at the Hilton Hotel, Senator Boyce noted that while Barbados was ranked quite high worldwide in terms of the quality of its telecommunications, “I would want us to be up there with the very best of the competition and I make this very clear to the carriers when I meet with them.”

(Source: Nation News)

Those of us who monitor the state of the economy across the Caribbean can attest that most countries have been and continue to experience marginal economic growth at best. In the majority of instances, and among other things, the countries are drowning in debt, are generating insufficient revenue to meet their recurring expenditure, cannot finance capital projects, and high unemployment continues to a pressing issue. With respect to citizens, and again among other things, the cost of living continues to increase, but salaries are not increasing at the same rate, which is affecting their purchasing power and their ability to afford products they had been able to purchase in the past.

When the current state of the region is considered, it is evident that our countries, and more specifically our governments, do not have the resources to drive the economic growth and development directly. Instead, they could seek to find other ways and means to foster that development and growth they envisage.

Should Governments dictate have private businesses operate?