Caribbean countries participate in digital economy conference

Thursday, May 23, 2019

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BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) — Several Caribbean countries will participate in a two-day conference on the digital economy in the Eastern Caribbean that gets underway in the United States today.

The “Digital Economy, Moonshot for the Eastern Caribbean” conference is being organised by the World Bank and will bring together policymakers and technical teams from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

It will also be attended by representatives of the World Bank, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority, the OECS Commission, as well as international companies.

Organisers said that the conference will discuss various aspects of the digital economy, as well as seek to advance the services within the digital economy throughout the Eastern Caribbean by building on the experiences and needs of the countries.

“This consultative process will help to inform an action plan for a regional project to be supported by the World Bank.” they said.

In March, the ECCB, which serves as the central bank for the countries in the subregional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), signed a contract with the Barbados-based fintech company Bitt Inc (Bitt) to conduct a blockchain-issued central bank digital currency pilot within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

It said that the pilot project is the first of its kind and will involve a securely minted and issued digital version of the EC dollar.

“The pilot is part of the ECCB's Strategic Plan 2017-2021 which aims to help reduce cash usage within the ECCU by 50 per cent, promote greater financial sector stability, and expedite the growth and development of our member countries. It would be a game-changer for the way we do business,” the ECCB added.

The multinational consulting firm, Deloitte, defines the digital economy as “the economic activity that results from billions of everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data, and processes

“The backbone of the digital economy is hyper-connectivity, which means growing interconnectedness of people, organisations, and machines that results from the Internet, mobile technology, and the Internet of Things,” it added.

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