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ICT Policy-making and International Trade Agreements in the Caribbean

Hopeton S. Dunn

Introduction

This chapter takes the Caribbean as a point of departure for an analysis of the effects of information and communication technology (ICT) policy-making and international trade agreements in a developing region. While Caribbean economies are typically small, compared with, say, India, South Africa, Brazil, and China, the region is, nevertheless, reflective of the geography of parts of the global South, notably the Pacific, and emblematic of the historical, economic, and social situations seen elsewhere in the developing world, regardless of size. Even where there are differing histories, many of the issues are shared in common.

Growth rates for the ICT and telecommunication sectors in developing countries are expanding at a much faster pace than those of the more mature markets of the global North. These trends are attracting heightened investment interest in global South markets, as capital seeks out more lucrative opportunities. It is international trade agreements and related public policy regimes that mediate these inward investments and national development plans.

The positive growth trends in the ICT and telecommunication industries in the South are consistent with the patterns of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates for these economies, reflected, for example, in the four-year period spanning 2005–09. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the ...

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