The “My Grenada – the spice of life” mobile application launched last week features news, current events, local recipes and places of interest in Grenada.
The mobile application was a result of the island’s first national mobile application workshop held earlier this month through a partnership between the Grenada government and BrightPath, an international nonprofit that specialises in programmes to help countries in emerging markets use technology to develop new opportunities, such as the growing global market for mobile apps.
A broad cross-section of the Grenada society was drawn to the topic of mobile applications. According to Ms. Loretta Simon, the director of ICT in the Office of the Prime Minister, “the response from the public was overwhelming; the event was over-subscribed.”
Students, health practitioners, educators, public servants, technology buffs, engineers, graphic designers all registered to be part of the training program.
The small island-state, with a population of just under 110,000, features mobile penetration levels in excess of 100%, according to the Grenada National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.
US research firm the Gartner Group estimates the industry’s global revenue generation to be some US$ 50 billion by the year 2015 and the Grenadian government has indicated that it wants to ensure that its citizens are positioned to seize a share of that market.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has placed special emphasis on ICT as one of the pillars for sustainable development.
The Grenadian leader, who is also responsible for ICT and is the lead Head in CARICOM for the sector has said that “Information and Communication Technology is a vehicle that will connect and attract our highly skilled, computer savvy young people to the world of work which is becoming more attractive, as geographical location is becoming less relevant.”
Bevil Wooding, the Founder and Executive Director of BrightPath Foundation, agrees.
“The high mobile penetration levels in the Caribbean create a unique opportunity for governments, businesses and ordinary citizens in the region to use mobile devices for much more than simply making phone calls and sending text messages. Mobile devices can be used to access all types of information and services,” Wooding said.
He added, “To take advantage of this potential, we need faster, more robust mobile networks. But we also need to invest in people who can develop those applications and services that can run on mobile devices. The great turnout at the Grenada’s first ever national mobile app development workshop shows the tremendous interest people have in gaining knowledge relevant to the digital age we now live in.”
BrightPath’s emphasis on increasing Caribbean capacity to create Caribbean mobile application is striking a chord with governments, international agencies and civil society groups across the region.
Wooding explained, “Our programs focus not only on the technical aspects of technology. We address the mindsets and values that must attend innovation and development of any kind. For us the primary focus is not about the technology or the apps. What matters most is the development of our people.”