Friday, April 12, 2024

ICT critical to rebuilding Haiti


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A two-day roundtable discussion on the best way forward for the reconstruction of Haiti’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector is expected to see a framework put in place that is capable of meeting the current challenges.Yesterday, representatives from various organisations met at the Hilton Barbados to attend the event coordinated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the government of Haiti.Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, in giving the opening address, told those gathered for the meeting, including Haiti’s Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications Jacques Gabriel and ITU Secretary General, Dr Hamadoun I. Toure, that the complexity of the task of reconstruction could not be underestimated.“As you attempt to respond in your individual capacities, it is absolutely vital that there is proper coordination of your efforts . . . efforts to rebuild Haiti must be grounded in a sound information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, which incorporates a fully articulated policy and regulatory framework,” she noted.McClean said that while CARICOM was heartened by the general outpouring of all kinds of assistance and corporate support to Haiti, although much had been pledged, insufficient had been actually contributed and utilised in the reconstruction efforts.She said while it was her understanding that a minimum of approximately $5.3 billion had been pledged for reconstruction, it was unknown how much had been deployed.“The application of ICTs will assist in getting the Haitian economic and social systems fully functional – the role of communication and the use of information again cannot be underestimated . . . . Recently, the president announced presidential elections in November. “The success of this will depend heavily on the ability of the political directorate, government administration and all stakeholders to access timely, accurate information; and ICT solutions will be required to achieve a positive outcome,” she said.Minister Gabriel in his address noted that under the new ICT strategy, towns and vill ages would be transformed into genuine development poles in response to the vital need to decentralise, as highlighted by the disaster. He noted, too, that the ICT strategy for Haiti had a two-fold approach. Under the first approach, the strategy would take into account the public sector’s recovery needs and reconstruction efforts.Under the second approach, the aim was to define a broadband framework for action that Haitians could appropriate, and to elaborate participatory and cooperative mechanisms.Toure, in his address, noted that Haiti needed lasting solutions to its problems and it was hoped that it could attain the best state-of-the-art telecommunications network. He said with ICTs, satellite services could be used to detect disasters and save lives, and added  that such resources would be very essential in the 21st century. (CT)


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