Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2015 Contents BG14 COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt DECEMBER 24 • 2015
The International Telecommu-
nications Union (ITU) released
its annual Global ICT Data and
ICT Development Index coun-
try rankings. The Republic of
Korea ranked in first place,
again. And most Caribbean countries fell in
the rankings, again.
The ICT Development Index
ITU s Measuring the Information Society
Report, which has been published annually
since 2009, features key data and benchmark-
ing tools on information and communications
technology (ICT) adoption globally. The data
gathered is used to measure the development
of the global information society.
The ICT Development Index (IDI) is a
benchmark that is widely used, not just by
policymakers, but by the global investment
community, telecoms operators, equipment
manufacturers, ICT service providers and
experts in academia.
The index monitors and compares ICT
access, use and skills around the world, allow-
ing countries to track their ICT development
progress year-on-year, as well as measure
themselves against global scores.
The IDI is based on 11 indicators which track
different ICTs to generate a well-rounded pic-
ture of ICT access, use and skills, as well as
provide insights into emerging technology
trends. IDI scores are calculated from three
The access sub-index measures ICT readi-
ness, reflecting the level of ICT infrastructure
and access. The use sub-index captures ICT
intensity, reflecting the level of use of ICTs in
The skills sub-index gathers information
on ICT capability or skills, which is critical to
leveraging the full potential of new technologies
to boost socio-economic development.
The latest report notes that all 167 economies
included in the ITU s ICT Development Index
(IDI) improved their IDI values between 2010
and 2015. This means that levels of information
and communication technology (ICT) access,
use and skills continue to rise all around the
However, the latest report also revealed that
countries in the Caribbean region experienced
some of the most significant declines in global
IDI rankings between 2010 and 2015.
Suriname was a positive exception, recording
the most dynamic improvement with a rise
of 15 places in the global rankings. However,
a number of countries fell significantly, includ-
ing Belize, Cuba, Grenada, Jamaica and St
Kitts and Nevis.
One positive highlight was Barbados, which
significantly outperformed all other countries
in the region. Barbados recorded IDI levels
more than one whole point above the next
highest regional performer, Antigua and Bar-
In fact, with the exception of Barbados, no
Caribbean country falls within the top half of
the global rankings.
The region s showing in the IDI rankings is
a clear indication of the inadequacy and inef-
fectiveness of current approaches and policies
to leveraging ICT in the Caribbean. It also
confirms the imperative to frame an entirely
new approach to technology enabled devel-
T&T, for example, despite hundreds of mil-
lions of dollars invested in ICT, ranks only
fifth in the region and has fallen five spots
from 65 to 70 in the global rankings.
It s not that there s nothing happening in
the Caribbean. Internet access continues to
increase across the region. Mobile penetration
rates exceed 100 per cent in several countries.
Most countries in the region have some form
of a national ICT development agenda. And
most have programmes to improve ICT adop-
So what s wrong with the picture?
The problem is that ICT development in
the Caribbean is just not happening fast
enough, is not coordinated enough and is not
consistent enough, to keep pace with global
advances. We are running, but more countries
are running faster.
The region is still a net consumer of tech-
nology content and technology services. The
legislative and policy environment still does
not sufficiently encourage or easily facilitate
the development of local enterprise.
Too much emphasis is still placed on gov-
ernment led or donor-driven programmes. In
other words, much more is needed to create
the enabling environment that can truly
encourage Caribbean enterprise to support
New approaches needed
The region must redouble efforts to promote
accessibility, affordability and education by
greater and accelerated investments in critical
Internet and telecommunications infrastruc-
ture. At the same time, the region needs to
adopt a more coordinated approach to capacity
building, expanding Internet access and
increasing training in the use of ICTs and the
Internet is a must.
The challenge in 2016 will be to define the
practical mechanisms to implement this blue-
print and to realise the national and regional
development agenda. Improving our global
rankings will require greater investment, better
strategy, but most importantly, it will neces-
sitate far more effective leadership.
Continued on Page 15
Region falls in world rankings
Source: ITU 2015 global ICT Development Index (IDI)
See more: http://www.itu.int/net4/ITU-D/idi /2015/
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