At, CANTO’s 33rd annual conference and trade show which took place in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic one would expect to see and hear much of the deployment of telecoms infrastructure. And indeed the vendors were quick to report on their deployment of 4G and 5G technologies in the various territories or impressive rollouts of fibre and talk of fibre to the home. But one minister seemed to have a different perspective. With a digital parallel of former President Bill Clinton’s quote “it’s the economy stupid”, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister Melford Nicholas pointed to data and content as the key to the region’s development, backing mantra “Content is King”.
On the sidelines of the conference, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with Minister Nicholas on various matters of ICT development when he raised the issue of content creation.
“We need to move beyond the primary level of production, we need to be higher up the value chain and offer the finished product. And I think the area where we will be able to get the best bang for our buck is that there is no replication of Louise Bennett, there’s no replication of Paul Keens-Douglas or Viv Richards, these are the people we have! Look at the strength we had in cricket, where we have allowed an American company to become the virtual repository for the information of cricket. They have taken over from Wisden, Cricinfo is now owned by ESPN. But we have been such giants of cricket and we do not have our own regional repository for cricket. We had Tony Cozier, Reds Perreira is still alive.”
“It is new thinking, that I’m saying that we need to create some of those information portals in our own territories and get them branded. They have to be branded effectively so that we are able to utilise the same advertising models, and we bring eyes to our portals, and hence we’re able to connect businesses to consumers in a real way.”