The Caribbean Digital Transformation Project is a US$ 28 million project financed by the World Bank Group. This project was implemented by the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (GoCD) due to the Government’s recognition of the role that digital technologies and solutions can play in strengthening the island’s and its inhabitants’ climate resilience, as well as the importance of integration with the global digital economy to expand markets and drive sustainability of businesses, government, and individuals. In small island countries such as those in the Eastern Caribbean region, in Dominica in particular, the resilience of governments has a very direct impact on the resilience of society at large. This project has been implemented in four islands within the Eastern Caribbean region: Saint Lucia, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Commonwealth of Dominica.
GOCD’s recovery and resilience building efforts include development of a Government Wide Area Network, and nodal digital infrastructure to lay the foundations for digitization of government. GOCD has engaged in a partnership with Digicel to connect all government service locations (Government offices, schools, hospitals, and health centers) to high-speed connectivity delivered using fiber optic networks. The network, being developed under the partnership, will provide multiple layers of redundant connectivity—underground and overhead fiber, microwave, and satellite at key locations—in addition to cloud services to host Government data and services. The government connectivity project includes development of a primary data center to host the government cloud and applications, as well as a secondary location to serve as a backup site.
The improved connectivity can be leveraged to develop digital government services and increase the level of digitization of government operations, which is currently lagging. Currently Dominica lacks the enablers of digital government, including an enterprise architecture, interoperability framework, identification and authentication, and a government payment portal. Uniquely and securely identifying residents through a digital ID is fundamental to enable access to digital services, both public and private, but the current ID ecosystem in Dominica is fragmented and not interconnected. In order to fully utilize and benefit from investments in cross-cutting enablers and specific digital government services, there is also a need for legal and regulatory reforms across key areas of the digital economy. These enabling environment improvements are a key first step towards removing roadblocks to improved adoption of digital services among individuals and businesses, as well as contributing to the development of digital applications and services by emerging entrepreneurs in Dominica.
The proposed Caribbean Digital Transformation Programme Project (DTP) is to be funded through the World Bank and aims to enhance the use of technology in the public sector as well as the private sector to conduct business transactions, build a robust and resilient IT infrastructure and to develop modern platform to facilitate and enhance these business transactions. The development objectives are to contribute to increased access to digital connectivity, digital public services and the creation of technology enabled businesses and jobs in Dominica.
For the Commonwealth of Dominica, DTP’s strategies are two-fold: one focuses on augmenting the functional capacity of the Ministry of Public Works and the Digital Economy to facilitate development control and project coordination; the other focuses on enhancing the resilience of Government databases and IT infrastructure. Much of Project resources will be utilized to create modernized platform, on technical assistance and capacity building. The proposed physical works are focused on improvement and installation of digital infrastructure, platforms and services, digital ecosystem, digital skills and technology adoption, and are straightforward works located within already developed areas with restricted access, thus minimizing community health and safety risks. The Project locations are within government facilities, therefore there will be very minimal community health and safety risks. Project activities are expected to be site-specific (occurring uniquely within the government buildings), limited in number, reversible in nature, and mitigatable with measures that are readily identifiable and technically and economically feasible. The project activities are aimed at building the cross-cutting enablers of digital government, while supporting public sector productivity and extending key digital public services to the citizens of Dominica. Putting in place the key enablers of digital government will ensure GoCD is well placed to add a suite of digital public services that builds on this foundation. Furthermore, the program is also designed to extend the benefits of such digitalization to the general public and private sector through enabling environment improvements that support development and adoption of digital tools and services, as well as skill development and entrepreneurship support. The combination of these activities and regional level interventions can unlock barriers to digital development, improving productivity, economic growth and job creation. For these reasons the Environmental and Social Risk Classification for this Project is considered Moderate.
In keeping with the mission of building back better and more resilient as indicated in the NRDS 2030, the ability to have a more resilient digital infrastructure is achievable through the much needed project. The Government of Dominica is committed to creating an enabling environment in order for the citizenry to take advantage of the opportunities that will be created by this project, through the creation of jobs and career paths.