Message from the NFMU on World Telecommunication and Information Society Day May 17, 2016
“ICT entrepreneurship for social impact”
Today is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2016. It marks the establishment of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on May 17, 1865. Following up from last year’s theme Telecommunications and ICTs: Drivers of innovation, this year’s theme is ICT entrepreneurship for social impact.
Notwithstanding the risks and challenges, entrepreneurship is an endeavour that grows economies, both in the developed and developing world. With globalization and the set back in the traditional productive sectors of our economy, more and more Guyanese entrepreneurs are emerging.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, as pointed out by the ITU, Secretary General, is amongst the most profitable and successful in the world.
It is therefore very appropriate that ICTs could be harnessed, through entrepreneurship, for social development. This cuts across many of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations, established in 2015 (to be achieved within the next 15 years).
Of course, for maximum impact, the environment needs to be conducive for investment and entrepreneurship.
In this respect, the Government of Guyana will be taking the Telecommunications Bill to the National Assembly soon, with the intention of opening the telecommunication/ICT sector to full competition and setting clear rules and guidelines for the regulation of the sector.
This should not only encourage further investments by the existing operators, but pave the way for other and smaller players to get involved in our telecom/ICT sector. Better prices and quality of services, resulting from liberalization, would also be good for entrepreneurs.
Because developing countries like Guyana have been more consumer centric than anything else, we as a nation need to push more to innovate and create. This, we believe, will have the greatest positive economic and social impact on Guyanese.
It is for this reason that the NFMU has begun looking at ways to foster innovation in the ICT sector. This is in line with Government’s policy of boosting the creative and innovative abilities of our students.
One of the most popular inventions in the ICT sector is the mobile phone. It has evolved to a smart phone and is ubiquitous in many countries. With the recent commercial launch (by our two mobile operators) of mobile broadband services to most of our population, smart phones are expected to be more and better utilized. This means that in addition to more mobile applications (apps) being utilized, the demand for more apps will also rise. Herein lies a great opportunity for our Guyanese creators and innovators. Guyanese can also potentially market their mobile apps to the estimated 3 billion mobile broadband users worldwide.
We do have what it takes to develop mobile apps. One classic example is the Directory.GY mobile app (named the official app of our Jubilee celebrations), launched last week by Intellect Storm, a group of young and talented Guyanese innovators and entrepreneurs.
Generally, apps can range from simple social interactions and location services to providing counselling to persons in need or match demand with supply of goods/services etc.
The possibilities of ICT entrepreneurship and the social impact that they can have are limitless. We only have to believe. Once we believe, we can achieve.
A Blessed and happy 50th Independence Anniversary to all Guyana.
Happy World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2016 to you all.
National Frequency Management Unit