The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas in 1973 with the following objectives: to improve standards of living and work; the full employment of labour and other factors of production; accelerated, coordinated and sustained economic development and convergence; expansion of trade and economic relations with third States; enhanced levels of international competitiveness; organisation for increased production and productivity; achievement of a greater measure of economic leverage and effectiveness of Member States in dealing with third States, groups of States and entities of any description and the enhanced co-ordination of Member Statesâ€™ foreign and foreign economic policies and enhanced functional co-operation. In a region largely made up of isalnd states, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is probably the single most important facilitator of the integration process namely, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The strong influence of Information and Communication Technology in shaping the process of globalization, particularly in the productive, commercial and financial spheres, is also widely recognised.
These facts have been clearly recognised by the Heads of Government of CARICOM who mandated the CARICOM Secretariat to prepare, by a participatory process, a CARICOM ICT Strategy. The focus of the strategy is on ICT as an instrument for strengthened connectivity and development to foster greater prosperity and social transformation between and among member states, as well as the rest of the world.
In CARICOM, there is a continuing focus on mainstreaming ICT activities and developments to effectively contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those related to income poverty reduction, education, health, environment and gender equity through:
- Creating economic opportunities and contributing to poverty reduction
-Managing the processes of providing basic services (e.g. healthcare, education) at lower cost and with greater coverage
-Facilitating access to information and the involvement of regional organisations and stakeholders through greater transparency and support to networking at every stage; and
-Enhancing the capacity to measure, monitor and report progress on the goals and strategies.