Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, has welcomed the launch of the CARICOM Digital Skills Task Force, which is intended to coordinate the Caribbean Community’s approach to developing and harnessing the digital skills of Caribbean nationals, ensuring greater collaboration and innovation..
The task force which has two co-chairs at the helm, will also help promote awareness of digital skills and provide technical guidance on skills development.
Dr. Mitchell, who is also the Lead Head for Science and Technology, including ICT in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, said the work of the task force is vitally important to what is envisioned as a ‘human-centered, sustainable and more prosperous digital future’.
Identifying the desire for a whole-of-CARICOM approach, Dr. Mitchell underscored the need to “make it possible for our citizens, our young people in particular, to gain the digital skills they need to navigate and succeed in today’s digital economy.”
The goal he said, is to “build a CARICOM digital future where no one is left behind”.
The Prime Minister noted that the increased reliance on technology brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, has necessitated up-skilling among the region’s people.
He said, “Digital Skills are required across the board, from agriculture to creative industries, defence to hospitality, transport and tourism– all sectors are reporting the need for digital skills.
Therefore, to build and foster the CARICOM digital economy, we must embrace the role of technology and have a digital workforce.”
Dr. Mitchell noted too that while today’s youth may be more competent in terms of digital
skills, this is not enough.
He said, “Young people today have a much higher level of education regarding digital skills and competences.
While they are often considered “digital natives”, the reality is that the majority do not possess job-relevant digital skills.
As a result, jobs requiring Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobile app development are going unfilled.
We need to change that reality.”
The Grenadian leader opined that the digital transformation taking place will radically transform regional economies and affect how people live and work.
He cited a need for CARICOM to dramatically advance digital skills for the workforce, particularly for low-skilled workers who are likely to be vulnerable to job loss.
At Wednesday’s launch, Dr. Mitchell acknowledged the overall progress being made by the region in the strategic use of digital technologies and provided an update on digital transformation in Grenada.
He spoke of Government fast-tracking its digital transformation agenda to create a more citizen-centric public service that is capable of delivering more online services.
This initiative he explained is strategically aligned with a plan to improve digital literacy among citizens, which would allow them to better capitalise on the improved service delivery platforms.