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Grenadian Prime Minister Calls for Caribbean Businesses to Invest in AI

Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell is calling for Caribbean policymakers and business leaders to recognise the significance of artificial intelligence technologies.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to the ability of computer systems to do tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Globally, AI is applied across a range of industries, including self-driving cars, virtual assistants, fraud detection, and medical diagnosis. It can help companies boost efficiency, cut costs, and gain data-driven insights.

“The advent of artificial intelligence has the potential to transform businesses in the Caribbean and around the world. Through the use of AI, businesses can analyse data faster and more accurately, identify trends and make better decisions. OpenAI, for example, has made significant strides in the field of natural language processing and machine learning, creating new opportunities for businesses to improve customer service and create new products. The impact of AI will continue to grow, and investing in AI will ensure a competitive edge in regional and global markets,” he said.

AI was among several topics on the agenda at an international business forum held at the Grenada Trade Centre, St. George’s on February 28, where Mitchell delivered the opening keynote address. Several leading voices in the region’s business and technology sectors supported Mitchell’s call.

“The Caribbean is ready right now to take the next step in the digital revolution, and AI is part of our arriving future. However, our adoption of AI or any emerging technology should align with what our businesses and societies need,” said Bevil Wooding, Director of Caribbean Affairs at the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and co-founder of CaribNOG, the Caribbean Network Operators Group.

“It is critical that Caribbean governments, business leaders, technocrats and academics make technology the servant, not the master, of our development agenda as we collectively pursue our business interests, national priorities and regional development programs,” he added.

“AI is going to significantly impact Caribbean businesses, and it is critical that we understand that. Business leaders must connect business strategy with technology adoption,” said Kevin Khelawan, co-founder of Pneuko Inc., which helps businesses with digital transformation, workflow automation, field operations and AI-driven analytics.

“AI will likely move a lot faster than the Internet did in terms of its transformative and disruptive power. So Caribbean business leaders will need to be proactive in considering how we transform our businesses to remain relevant in a world where AI proliferates,” added Khelawan, who is also the co-founder of Teleios Systems Limited.

“Expertise in next-generation technologies like AI should be something that the Caribbean region is producing and exporting, not just importing and consuming,” said Stephen Lee, CEO of Arkitechs Inc. and program director of CaribNOG.

“It is not enough to simply future-proof Caribbean networks at the infrastructure level against climate-related threats, such as hurricanes. As a region, we must go further and prioritise the development of expertise in emergent technologies that are relevant to our Caribbean context through deliberate capacity-building and knowledge-sharing so that Caribbean thinkers and doers can work together to build regionally relevant solutions that are globally marketable.”

The business forum was part of Grenada ICT Week, held from February 27 to March 3, organized by the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with ARIN, CaribNOG and the Grenada National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission. It brought together business leaders, government officials, ICT professionals, academics, and members of civil society, alongside local, regional, and international experts, to discuss the increasing role of technology in business, government, and society. Wooding, Khelawan and Lee were speaking in a post-event interview.

From September 11 to 15, Saint Lucia will hold its ICT Week, organized by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, ARIN and CaribNOG, in collaboration with the Government of Saint Lucia, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Internet Society, the Internet Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

By Gerard Best, Development Journalist

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