New lobby group wants economic reform to embrace technology
Recently-formed lobby group, Jamaica Information Technology and Services Alliance (JITSA) warns that the island's low technology ranking could negatively impact its growth potential.
It wants reforms being implemented under the Internatioanl Monetary Fund (IMF) programme to embrace technology.
"A number of existing strategic initiatives lack integration and proper execution, and have relied on old, capital intensive approaches to ICT deployment,resulting in project outcomes that do not meet changing globalexpectations," said JITSA President Mervyn Eyre in a statement issued along with a 30-page opinion entitled A Case for ICT Reform as an Enabler of Economic Reform, which was published by the group last month.
"They have also produced high rates of project failure due to poor budget, resource and change management."
Jamaica slipped one spot to 86th in the world rankings, according to the Global Information Technology Report (GITR) 2014.
The decline reflected continued low scores in mobile-internet penetration, math and venture capital funding, the just released report stated.
Finland led the world while Jamaica's ranking sank for the eighth consecutive year, according to GITR 2014 titled 'Rewards and Risks of Big Data' published in April by the World Economic Forum (WEF) -- a Switzerland-based, non-aligned think-tank.
Within the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, which was ranked 41st, Barbados, at 56th, and Trinidad & Tobago (71st) outranked Jamaica.
Eyre added that Jamaica should not "miss" the opportunity to twin ICT reform with economic reform.
"This is a grand opportunity, as national transformation enabled by ICT has been proven worldwide to lead to rapid, sustainable growth. Our leaders in government and business must understand that ICT can lead Jamaica to prosperity," he said. "This can only be achieved if things are done differently; leaders in business and government must not only understand their roles in how ICT decisions are made, but assume accountability for ICT-based outcomes.
"This responsibility cannot be delegated to the technologists - it requires a new and learned, leadership approachto governance".
JITSA is a working group of over 30 local and international IT service providers, software developers and IT consultancy companies.