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IDB backs Bahamas’ digital transformation

The Bahamas took a step towards greater uptake of technology within the public sector this week, signing a loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank to fund its digital transformation agenda. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

IDBThe Bahamas took a step towards greater uptake of technology within the public sector this week, signing a loan agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to fund its digital transformation agenda.

The Inter-American Development Bank is providing a $30 million loan to support The Bahamas’ Government Digital Transformation to Strengthen Competitiveness Kwasi Thompsonproject.

Speaking at the loan signing ceremony, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson (stock photo) said: “The government has begun to heighten the role of information communication and technology as a national priority underpinning the further development of The Bahamas.”

“We must improve the digital infrastructure and capacity within the public service to provide improved levels of customer service efficiency, transparency and accountability.”


The Minister also highlighted recent efforts to transform Freeport into a tech hub by incentivising investors in that niche, saying: “If we are to realise this goal, we must first change the way we do business. We cannot expect a national digital revolution to take place if the government is not prepared to embrace its own digital transformation.”

With modernisation high on the agenda, the government is hoping to introduce a single window concept whereby citizens can access numerous services through a single digital interface at any time. It will also look at streamlining government procedures, increasing transparency and strengthening auditing and control mechanisms.

In addition to the digital transformation loan, the IDB also committed to providing a $100 million Contingent Loan for Natural Disaster Emergencies, which will enhance disaster risk management, improve monitoring and enable financial protection and risk transfer. The signing ceremony for both loans took place at the Melia Resort in Nassau.

The Bahamas is ramping up its cruise offerings and negotiating with Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd (RCL) for substantial redevelopment in Freeport on the back of a record 11 million expected cruise ship passengers in 2019.

The International Monetary Fund is warning of a "delicate moment for the world economy" as it predicts a slowdown in global growth, however the outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean region is cautiously optimistic with economists forecasting growth rates of 1.4 per cent in 2019 and 2.4 per cent in 2020.

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