Four countries in the Eastern Caribbean will benefit from a World Bank-financed project that will support the development of a digital economy in the subregion.
On Monday, June 22, the World Bank’s board of executive directors approved the disbursement of loans in the amount US$28 million to Dominica, US$8 million to Grenada, US$20 million to St Lucia, and US$30 million to St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will also receive US$8 million as a grant to build an inclusive digital economy.
The disbursements form part of the World Bank’s Caribbean Digital Transformation Project which aims to increase access to digital services, technologies and skills for governments, businesses and individuals.
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the essential role of digital technology in keeping people, businesses, governments, and countries connected. It enabled virtual continuity of services and facilitated contactless transactions,” Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country director for the Caribbean, stated.
“The digital economy offers a unique opportunity for the Eastern Caribbean countries to become digital leaders.”— Tahseen Sayed, country director for the Caribbean, World Bank Group
The World Bank project will focus, in particular, on increasing internet penetration as well as digital financial services and public services. With support from the project, the Caribbean countries will implement reforms that will foster regional harmonisation of the legal and regulatory environment and promote investment in digital infrastructure.
The Caribbean Digital Transformation Project will also support activities that make telecommunications and financial services more affordable and, at the same time, address cybersecurity and data protection risks.
In addition, it will support public sector modernisation and delivery of digital public services that are centred on citizens.
“The digital economy offers a unique opportunity for the Eastern Caribbean countries to become digital leaders. Wider and more rapid adoption of digital technologies can support countries during the COVID-19 recovery phase and help build resilience, create jobs, and boost future growth,” Sayed noted.