Technological advancements play a significant role in the economic growth, employment generation, and in the development of digital financial services ecosystem. This is very relevant in the Caribbean as well. Caribbean economy comprises of diverse islands, offering diverse opportunities. On the other hand, these islands also face several natural, infrastructural, and political challenges to economic growth.
The good thing about the Caribbean is that its potential and size makes it the ideal sandbox for experimenting leapfrog technologies. Because of the recent extreme climate changes in the Caribbean, the pressure on the infrastructure and on the government’s capacity of assigning natural resources for dealing with these challenges has increased drastically. This is the reason why the government needs to now start leveraging technological advances in several areas like digital finances ecosystem and renewable energy.
The adoption of digital payment is very beneficial for the government due to the reduced leakage in tax collection and public spending. Apart from economic growth, the digitalization of payment also improves the visibility and traceability between the buyers and the sellers because of the digital record.
Technological Advancements in the Caribbean
In the “Caribbean Smart Islands” forum, several things were discussed as to how private and public entities can join partnership in the digital payments ecosystem for generating economic growth in the Caribbean. Associations, NGOs, international organizations, government, global industry leaders, were all brought together for discussing on these matters. The main objectives of the forum being:
Smart Islands: Digital Payments Ecosystem
A lot of cities have already incorporated the concept of “Smart City” over the recent years. This involves wirelessly managing traffic signals and street lights for lowering energy costs. This can save a lot of money over a certain period of time. The concept of smart city integrates IoT (Internet of Things) and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for optimizing the efficiency of city services and operations and connect to citizens. Customization and application of these principles to the Caribbean islands can really transform the local economies.
Tourism as a Growth Catalyst and a Resilience Catalyst in the Caribbean
Almost 15% of the GDP of the Caribbean comes from tourism. One major drawback of the Caribbean is the fact that it is highly prone to natural disasters. The tourism gets severely affected due to this factor. The cost of mitigating and adapting to the impact of these severe climatic changes rapidly outpaces the government’s ability of funding the necessary investments. So, the tourism industry goes under immense pressure of leveraging capital from the private or public partnerships for addressing a segment for providing more jobs to the citizens of the Caribbean. So, if the recovery of the tourism sector is more critical compared to the overall recovery, more attention should be given for facilitating the resilience of this sector.
Caribbean SMEs Entering the Global Commerce
SMEs account for the worldwide economic growth. Nowadays, technological advancements have blurred the lines between physical and digital commerce and increased the efficiency of global supply chains and logistics. Small firms can also be global players because of cross border trades.