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Mon. 16th July, 2017 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – CANTO’s 2017 Conference was opened in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, under the theme Re-imagining ICT As a Tool for National Growth and Development. During his opening remarks CANTO Chairman Julian Wilkins spoke of the advances in the sector over the past two decades, and how the market had new faceless competitors, who also went nameless for his presentation. He explained that telco’s had to address the challenges from over-the-top services provides.  He was quick to point out that these companies don’t employ local people and do not pay taxes in those countries where customers have chosen to use that services.

Giving the keynote address at CANTO 2017, CANTO’s 33rd annual conference, was Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, opened by joking at the absence of a tele-prompter and then went on to give some pointed remarks.  Prime Minister Browne, reminded telecoms companies of the government’s of the region, had made significant investment by way of tax concessions in the form of tax holidays, duty free concessions and the like and that indicated their commitment and support to developing the sector.

He challenged operators to increase their service offerings at an affordable rate in order to increase their customer base, only by increasing customer base could they hope to improve their revenue streams and profitability, he added.

Offering more than criticism he suggested that if telecoms companies needed additional funding to implement projects and investment that there were funds available through agencies such as the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the World Bank through their business support entity, IFC.  

Prime Minister Browne, concluded by supporting CANTO’s desire to seek opportunities to partner to deliver solutions and services to the people of the region, to further ensure that ICT actually delivered on National Growth and Development.