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Skilled Workforce Is 'Critical For Tech Hub

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

Transforming Grand Bahama into a "technology hub" involves far more than attracting investors, a Cabinet minister has conceded, with developing a skilled workforce "a critical part" of its plans.​

Senator Kwasi Thompson, minister of state for Grand Bahama, while addressing a recent financial technology (Fintech) seminar hosted by the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB), said this niche represented a natural evolution for the Bahamian financial services industry.

"It is also very much in line with the government's digital transformation program and our stated policy of making Grand Bahama a technology hub," said Mr Thompson. "Our tech hub initiative steadily progresses, and involves far more than just attracting tech companies to The Bahamas.

"Yes, there is good infrastructure, tons of available and affordable office space, no real property tax, but there is also the built-in Customs duty exemptions for every licensee of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and also the ability to receive similar duty free exemptions outside the Port area with the government's east and west concessions. Building our human capacity needs is a critical part of building the right ecosystem."​

Mr Thompson said there are four more technology companies under consideration by the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) for approvals, in addition to previously-announced investments by the likes of Dev Digital and Skyward Tech.​

He added: "We have incorporated technology in our school's infrastructure through the Ministry of Education's digitisation project, and have created even more educational opportunities for Bahamians by providing free tuition at BTVI and University of the Bahamas.

"I have asked both local institutions to give even greater focus on widening the range of technology programmes. Youth programmes were designed to introduce technology to high school students. These programmes include the BTVI ICT Programme and the YMCA ICT Programme.

"The ICT Skills Development Summer Programme was created in partnership with BTVI. This year's programme benefitted 300 students in New Providence and 100 in Grand Bahama. By the end of this year the programme would have produced 400 high school students from both years of the programme, who are ICT trained and will have CompTIA certification. These numbers indicate a strong ICT-trained Bahamian foundation for potential incoming tech companies."

Mr Thompson added that the government is moving to modernise and transform its services, having signed an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to finance the project.​

Comments

JackArawak 8 months ago

start teaching tech to the first graders and check back in 20 years

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proudloudandfnm 8 months ago

Yeah, then you'll have a slew of tech grads with a D average....

Good luck with that...

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proudloudandfnm 8 months ago

I really don't care about this stupid tech hub nonsense. Fix our tourism industry now, fix our maritime industry now. DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE ISSUES WE HAVE NOW...

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banker 8 months ago

Dev Digital and Skyward Tech. are not the kind of companies that the Grand Bahama tech hub needs. The are low-tech high tech companies with a small user base, and the technologies that they employ are not anywhere near earth-shattering. They make websites, platforms and do not possess the skillsets of emergent technologies like Blockchain, AI, Big Data or Machine-Learning. These kinds of companies are like mom-and-pop stores, and not a major player.

Kwasi and his committee do not know what they are doing. Strangely enough, he was provided with solutions but it went over his head.

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