The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Planning, Resilience, Sustainable Development, Telecommunication & Broadcasting is premised on the desire to provide central focus to the Sustainable Development needs of the country, manifested through sustained and inclusive Growth, Environment Protection and Management, and Social Development, Social Protection and Poverty Reduction.
Resilience and Sustainable Development
Sustainable Development has become an international imperative resulting from the devastating effects of natural disasters occurring in the context of low and negative growth. Globally economic growth has been very subdued over the past five (5) years. There was growing optimism that a recovery to higher growth was emerging, however that optimism has all been destroyed by the current global epidemic of coronavirus. The virus (2019-n-cov) which originated from China is now spreading globally affecting production and distribution supply chains, international transportation (sea/ air), manufacturing and service output and employment with implications for global economic growth.
Dominica is in the middle of a recovery program after the destruction of Hurricane Maria. While much has been achieved, there is still much more to be done to enhance the resilience of the country. To guide its efforts, Dominica prepared the National Resilience Development Strategy (NRDS) which outlines a road map to resiliency by 2030. The country also prepared the Dominica Climate Resilience and Recovery Plan (CRRP) 2020-2030 which serves as an accompanying document to the NRDS. The CRRP will also serve as a guide for the preparation of Sector Strategic Plans.
These laudable planning efforts are being undertaken to guide the country to full recovery and to build climate resilient systems, undertake prudent disaster risk management and put in place an effective disaster risk response mechanism. At the end of it all it is expected that future negative effects of disasters will be reduced and recovery will be quick.
This road to recovery however is being paved in an environment of uncertainty some of which were elucidated previously. The long quest for higher sustained economic growth and dynamic development has been a troubling one. From a mono crop economy, largely dominated by the banana industry the country has transitioned to a service economy driven by whole sale and retail, government services and tourism. Agriculture still plays an important role in matters of food security and rural employment. It contributes approximately 16 percent to the country’s GDP. The frequency of natural disasters and the constant need to frequently rebuild negates opportunities for new investments contributing to the fragility of the core pillars of the economy. Consequently, Dominica has been in a long transition to a dynamic diversified service economy.
Climate change remains the single most potent threat to national development and prosperity. While Dominica has done well in terms of marine protection and forest cover preservation that effort is constantly being eroded by natural disasters. The country’s eco-tourism brand depends on the forest and rivers. Many of the farmers who were forced to leave farming due to the fallout from bananas are now involved in the fishing industry. Adverse climatic conditions have damaging effects on coral reefs and near shore species as well as investments in the sector. While the state operates a very generous broad social protection system, exogenous shocks reduces available of funding and increases demand.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Planning, Resilience, Sustainable Development, Telecommunication & Broadcasting has emerged at a critical point in the nation’s history of charting a course for sustainable and resilient development. It must embrace that opportunity with vision and determination enveloped in fortifications of sound leadership, partnership and team spirit, and institution strengthening to achieve a collective consciousness and a desire for higher achievements and meritocracy, while we aim to build the world’s first climate resilient country.
Telecommunication and Broadcasting
Government continues to enhance a post disaster telecommunication mechanism. We have successfully increased resilient infrastructure which includes the running of fiber underground which has many advantages as it pertains to disaster recovery. So emergency telecommunications systems, such as the use of V-SATS or amateur radio systems, are considered the backbone of our post disaster response and a significant component of making his sector more resilient. As we speak this Government has installed twenty V-SATS across Dominica
The International Telecommunications Union, Government has provided another layer of communications resilience. This through the installation and deployment of a standalone radio messaging system. This network was officially launched on Friday June 19 2020 by the Government of Dominica with assistance from the technical radio experts at the ITU in conjunction with the engineering staff of the Ministry of Telecommunications. Government has also developed an innovative WI-FI network for post disaster response in coordination with the UNDP and the ODM. This network was officially built and installed in three areas; Good Hope, Bellevue Chopin and the ODM. We undertook a pilot where we used satellite based services to provide Wi-Fi services. Dominica, dubbed the new emerging investment destination is quickly becoming an attractive business location. The Government of Dominica has identified the Information and Communication Technology Sector (ICT) as an area to be pursued for further economic diversification.
Dominica has one of the most robust and resilient telecommunication infra-structure within the OECS with three (3) Cable Operators providing island-wide coverage with redundant fibre rings. As a result of its strategic location in the chain of islands, Dominica has direct connectivity to the rest of the region and the world through access to the Eastern Caribbean Fibre System (ECFS), the GCN Submarine Cable System and the Americas 2 Fibre System.