Lendon Telesford

Grenada - building the Internet Economy

For decades we have made numerous attempts at “Economic Development”. With every endeavor however, we have only managed to create an economy synonymous to a black hole, constantly sucking the life out of what we call society. Though many may argue that we would have come a long way, cushioned by the bosom of Agriculture and Tourism, I hold my own reservations. Although we’ve made it to the place in time called ‘NOW’ - this leaves room for many questions. I’m not saying that Tourism and Agriculture have done nothing for us. I’m simply questioning the possibility of national growth in today’s dynamically changing world, with the aforementioned as the only focus. Looking through the eyes of our politicians, it would appear that we’ve been heading down the path to sustainable development. Of course, I can’t neglect to highlight that the weight/measure of anything is dependent on whose definition is in use.

Looking at Grenada as a sanctuary for economic development, one can envision many models. However, I think that the success of what is to become is highly contingent upon a structural re-culturing. In the world of computers, a simple reset and reconfiguration would do the trick - only if it was that easy in our context. When one think’s Grenada, automatically the isle of spice comes to mind. However, when I think Grenada, all that can come to mind is the isle of traditional approaches. Undoubtedly, we seem to be more loyal to traditional approaches that we are to the idea of development. For years we’ve been trying to build the Agriculture and Tourism “industry” without adequate focus on human capacity development; treating the two as mutually exclusive concepts. I’m saying this to say, it’s time to explore new domains. It’s time to build a new economy – I propose the Internet Economy.

 

With the recent re-launch of the Grenada Internet Exchange Point (IXP), we have been placed in a strategic position to aid human capacity development, while we encourage local content consumption and commerce. Putting the equation together is simple because we already have all the variables. The implementation of our own IXP provides the perfect opportunity to put our nation’s greatest resource to work. That is our youth. With the high degree of passion, dedication and innovation embed in the core of our young people, I have no doubt that we can become the Amazon or Google of the Caribbean. By virtue of its nature, the Internet is designed to harness growth. So are we to remain traditional in our approaches? This affords us the chance to build an ecosystem conducive to a redefined sense of economic growth. According to an article titled The Connected World - across the G-20 nations, the Internet economy amounted to 4.1 percent of GDP, or $2.3 trillion. I vote the Internet Economy. What say you?

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