New Digital Observatory could bring more jobs to Caribbean countries

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — The recent launch of a Digital Development Observatory (DDO) could potentially lead to more jobs in the Caribbean, opined the chief executive of a regional recruitment firm.

Joseph Boll, CEO, Caribbean Employment Services Inc., has consistently supported more digital development in the region, suggesting that it could help make recruitment more efficient and fair and also create more job opportunities for residents.

“A formal tool like the Digital Development Observatory could indirectly help to encourage more adoption of technology and more digital development, which can lead to more job opportunities in several ways,” Boll said.

“We’re hopeful to see this tool be used effectively and in a way that will lead to better policies, better infrastructure, and more digitalization that can improve the standard of living for many.”

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    Tracking digital development in the Caribbean

    The Digital Development Observatory is a new online tool created by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to help track digital transformation in the region, with a view to providing crucial data that will ideally inform related initiatives.

    jobs in the Caribbean

    The ECLAC's Digital Development Observatory website. (ECLAC)

    It has begun tracking more than 100 indicators across 12 thematic areas, including:

    • Connectivity and digital inclusion
    • Businesses and productive digital transformation
    • Use of digital services and web traffic
    • E-commerce
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Digital skills and investigation
    • Digital government
    • Digital education
    • Digital health
    • Data governance and cybersecurity

    The DDO is already monitoring digital development in emerging industries such as agrotech (agriculture technology), fintech (financial technology) and AI in the Caribbean and Latin America, and how effectively businesses are developing in these areas — if at all.


    Digital development can drive Caribbean jobs

    According to Boll, the DDO has the potential to be “a gamechanger in digital development in the region.”

    “With the help of the DDO in identifying shortcomings, more attention, efforts and resources can be directed towards ensuring that local businesses and entrepreneurs have the required support to succeed in these emerging markets,” he said.

    jobs in the Caribbean

    SMSEs account for most employment in the Caribbean. (Canva photo)

    In its statement revealing the tool, the ECLAC noted a similar potential.

    “According to the Observatory’s data, more than 60% of companies in Latin America and the Caribbean that use the Internet have a passive presence, which means they do not use this tool to make transactions, for example,” it noted.

    “The situation is even more worrisome in the case of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) — which, in many countries, account for more than 98% of businesses — since 70% of them do not even have an online presence.”

    The issue is emphasized further because MSMEs account for most employment in the Caribbean.

    “When MSMEs succeed, it helps to stimulate a country’s growth,” Boll said.

    “They are able to hire more residents and help more people provide for their families, but if they’re not equipped to adequately function in the digital marketplace, they’re not being enabled to live up to their potential.”

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