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The Covid-19 pandemic has further widened the digital gap globally. A joint report by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Microsoft, has highlighted that nearly 224 million people, or 32%, in Latin America and the Caribbean have no internet access. 

Responding to this critical issue, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) answered the call to partner with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) during its World Telecommunications Development Conference (WTDC) 2022, in which its Partner2Connect Digital Coalition promoted the urgent need to connect the unconnected.  

The Partner2Connect Digital Coalition is a multistakeholder alliance launched by the ITU in close cooperation with the Envoy on Technology, and in line with the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, to foster meaningful connectivity and digital transformation globally. 

The CTU pledged to enhance ICT-enabled development throughout its Member Countries. Speaking on its commitment to connect the unconnected in the Caribbean, Secretary-General Rodney Taylor indicated that,

“The CTU’s pledge, will be fulfilled over the next five years. The CTU’s Strategic Plan 2020 – 2024, approved by its Member States, maps out the CTU’s programme for ICT, which is driven by the vision for a Single ICT Space. The CTU’s programme aligns with the WTDC’s goals of enhanced connectivity for sustainable development.” 

The CTU Secretary-General outlined the key elements of the CTU’s Pledge as follows. Firstly, the CTU Secretariat pledges to develop, support and coordinate the Monitoring and Evaluation of ICT regionally, on behalf of its Member States, focusing on a common set of results agreed upon by Member States. The ICT indicators will provide visibility on ICT issues, assess the impact of ICT initiatives, promote benchmarking and inform decision-making and policy formulation within Member States and at the regional level.  

Secondly, the Secretariat also undertakes to promote and assist further proliferation of Caribbean IXPs, in order to reduce traffic costs, enhance end users’ experience and stimulate digital economies nationally.  

Thirdly, the Secretariat will raise public awareness within the Caribbean region and promote educational initiatives aimed at increasing knowledge, at all levels of society, of the potential of ICT to drive social and economic development. This will be done through the hosting of CTU Caribbean ICT Roadshows which reflect the technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution and feature its technology immersion space – Caribbean FutureScape. 

This initiative will be implemented across all 20 CTU Member States.  

The CTU Secretariat is pleased to collaborate, on behalf of its Member States, with the ITU’s critical Partner2Connect initiative.