By Carlvon Ramsingh
Over the last two years, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, former Prime Minister and now Leader of The Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago, has championed the 4th Industrial Revolution, The Digital Age as a diversification strategy. This is quite encouraging especially in times of economic downturn, as it represents an avenue for engaging the human capital of the country, in an increasingly restless social environment.
Charting a Digital Way Forward
Given this posturing, there are many challenges to be surmounted, the first being political. Mrs. Persad-Bissessar’s stance represents a remarkable development in the emergence of technology as a mainstream economic growth strategy. It is the first time in the Caribbean that a Leader has emerged as an advocate for technological advancement and represent a shift in the political thinking. The effect of such a change speaks volumes for the future of Trinidad and Tobago in an ever-decreasing global market for fossil fuels. The Oil & Gas Sector in Trinidad and Tobago has been experiencing the shocks of low oil prices and consistent lower production in both oil and gas.
Increasingly, the need to diversify the economy is becoming urgent and critical. This requires the political directorate to make the decisions and support the diversification efforts. So far, little is being done by the present regime.
Investment is needed. Critical infrastructural capacity and capabilities are competencies needed to achieve this thrust forward. The country’s financial burdens weigh heavily of its ability to adequately invest in the paradigm shift. The door is therefore open to engage International funding agencies in the development process. Several Initiatives have been undertaken or are in the process. The IDB has entered into a loan agreement with the Trinidad and Tobago government for the thrust into the ITeS global sector, Loan 3112OC-TT. This Initiative was started under the Mrs. Persad-Bissessar Government, and although there are structures in place for the administration of it, the commencement has been quite cumbersome and given its pace, it is dubious such an Initiative will result in the economic growth of the country in the near future.
The opportunity to invest in creating the digital economy for Trinidad and Tobago is real.
In this regard Augmented Consulting has created a roadmap for the development of this Sector, as well as a Smart Industrial Policy to engage the rest of the economy and we shall welcome investors to help create this new economy.