Basseterre: December 6, 2016: St Kitts and Nevis clinched two coveted awards at the recently concluded World Telecommunications/ICT Indicators Symposium held in Gaborone, Botswana. The developing island nation was feted for its progress in the ICT Development Index (IDI) ranking, having moved up an impressive 20 positions, as well as its IDI value improvement, making it the most dynamic country in terms of ICT use worldwide.
The improved ranking saw St Kitts and Nevis move up from position 54 to 34 out of the 175 countries covered, a progress the report attributes to evidence of rapid growth in active mobile broadband subscriptions on the back of evident strong performance in mobile cellular subscriptions.
View complete ranking at https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Documents/publications/misr2016/MISR2016-w4.pdf#page=28
According to the report, the mobile-broadband penetration rate increased from just 18.6 per 100 inhabitants in 2014 to 71.0 in 2015. This massive shift positively mirrors the drop in the cost of prepaid mobile broadband from USD 51.9 in 2014 to USD 13.7 in 2015.
Receiving the awards, The Honorable Vincent Byron Jr who is the Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications, said the report validates the ongoing investment and regulatory efforts of the government in providing ICT access for the people of St Kitts and Nevis.
“St Kitts and Nevis endeavors to position itself for growth and development. When it comes to growing ICT we have benefitted as a member of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority, which offers the region a common regulatory framework. We have also laid down an in-country legal framework to champion ICT growth by passing a Telecommunications Act in 2000 as well as setting up a National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, both of which have been instrumental in liberalizing the telecoms sector, previously strained by biased market power. We now have opened up the market for healthy competition from other investors and this has spurred tremendous growth of the sector, “says the Attorney General.
The overall IDI scores and rankings for the Caribbean region also showed St Kitts and Nevis leading followed by Barbados and the Bahamas as the best performers across the three sub-indices namely access, use and skills. The report suggests that the challenge for the Caribbean countries remains improving ICT readiness based on the inhabitants’ response to taking up both wired and wireless broadband subscriptions, despite showing substantial strides in ICT infrastructure development and telecommunications access.
In the overall IDI ranking and scores for the Americas region, St Kitts and Nevis came in third after United States and Canada with an IDI value of 7.21, a leap from 6.23 in 2015.
The 2016 Measuring Information Society Report, which was released by the International Telecommunications Union at the 14th World Telecommunications/ICT Indicators Symposium in Botswana, monitors the development of the world’s information society by focusing on ICT indicators that champion the achievement of the sustainable development goals. These indicators are grouped into three sub-indices: access, use and skills. The ICT Development Index (IDI) is a world renowned tool used as a standard reference for governments, operators, researchers and development agencies amongst others to appreciate progress in the world’s digital divide and compare ICT performance amongst countries and regions.
The report shows a strong correlation between levels of overall economic performance and performance in the IDI. For St Kitts and Nevis scores, the association with higher-income higher-ranked countries such as United States and Canada, shows steady trends in economic growth, improvement in living standards and in turn an increase in disposal income that promotes access to ICT products.
“This report is important to St Kitts and Nevis because it gives a measure of how well we have done over the last year. It impacts upon our economic performance in that it justifies in a tangible way the strides we have made towards development of our infrastructures. We have exhibited a 4-5 per cent growth in our economy over the past year and we anticipate a steady upward trend in the coming year. This report demonstrates that as a small island developing nation we have exhibited prudent management of our affairs in the various sectors to achieve great results and can serve as a beacon to other smaller developing states that indeed it can be done, “said the Attorney General, Mr. Byron Jr.
The World Telecommunications/ICT Symposium takes place yearly bringing together delegates from all over the world including government ministers, regulatory bodies, key business leaders amongst others to discuss existing and emerging issues on ICT data and their role in policy making to provide a reference point to the international community on information society trends and future projections.