Background

The Caribbean demonstrates a pronounced lag in activities and outcomes linked with policies and application of ICT for development (ICT4D), if one compares it with Latin America, or even Africa. Many things serve to explain this situation, particularly the problem of creating compatibility between the culture of networking and the culture of the countries of this region. The difficulty of encompassing the linguistic diversity of the Caribbean is a major obstacle to integration, at least as regards ICT, and to the creation of a regional vision for the information society. The presence and the influence of this region in the discussions of the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) have been slight1, and the after effects in the region fall below expectations. The Caribbean has a particular difficulty in speaking with one voice in this context.

In the period 2003-2005, there has been an intensification of activities (in particular the meeting in Barbados organised by ICA2, and thanks to the electronic discussion group CIVIC3 which came out of that meeting). Currently, the European Union is conducting two studies looking to develop programmes of ICT4D, one of them specifically directed to the Caribbean, the other as part of an ACP programme. Elsewhere, ICA is putting in place projects generated by its most recent call for proposals; Funredes is involved in one of these which is to support the process of virtual integration in CIVIC.results in national and regional agendas for the information society.

Also the Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie (AIF) has been firm in its support of the participation of civil society in the World Summit for the Information Society, where it considers that cultural diversity is an essential strategic element. An interest exists in the AIF to undertake an activity in the Caribbean, where it has three member states (Dominica, Haiti and St Lucia), where the French departements in America are to be found, and where the stakes of multilingualism are high.


[1] In spite of the fact that the regional preparatory meeting for WSIS for Latin America and the Caribbean was held in the Dominican Republic (http://www.indotel.org.do/wsis/).
[2] The Caribbean ICT Roundtable, Barbados, October 28-30, 2002: http://www.icamericas.net/workshops/caribbean/
[3] http://www.dgroups.org/groups/icacaribbean/