ICT offers best solution for unemployment
Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
MANDEVILLE, Manchester:WHILE THOUSANDS of individuals graduate from various secondary and tertiary institutions annually with no job prospects, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell has said information communication technology (ICT) is the best solution for unemployment.
"We have seen this week another report from the PIOJ (Planning Institute of Jamaica) which indicates that growth has continued below two per cent and also that unemployment is going down ... but I have to concede that the growth we are experiencing is not being felt, the unemployment decline is not being felt sufficiently to relieve the burden on our people," said Paulwell, who was speaking at the launch of the Young Entrepreneurship Association of Jamaica's (YEA) National Entrepreneurship Week, held on Wednesday at the Neil's Auditorium, Mandevilla Place, Manchester.
"As we contemplate growing our economy and society out of persistent debt, debilitating criminal activity and unemployment, I am convinced that we need the energy, the creativity, the enterprise and guts of our young people to drive growth...".
He continued: "... many of who have high-school and even college degrees, the online market presents a unique opportunity for local economic activity ... the traditional means of conducting business will not work for you ... you have to market beyond where you live and look at the global space."
With knowledge as the new currency of the economy, according to the minister, a special project has been implemented under his portfolio to provide assistance to those who are into content development and software creation to the point of export.
"We have what is called 'Start-Up Jamaica'. It's a US$20-billion project that is available... we are establishing what we call incubators, we have one in Kingston, and I see no reason why we can't have one in Mandeville. These will provide the space needed for business operations ... We are also prepared to assist by linking these young entrepreneurs with investors."
With several businesses that have closed in recent years in the parish, the minister implored that these spaces be sought out and used as ICT centres for the future.