30 November 2017, GEORGETOWN, GUYANA
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today signed the approved Project Document for the ICT Access and e-Services for Hinterland, Poor and Remote Communities project that will be executed by the National Data Management Authority (NDMA). Signing on behalf of the Government of Guyana were Hon. Winston Jordan and Catherine Hughes, Ministers of Finance and Telecommunications, respectively.
Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy emphasizes the fostering of sustainable development in the hinterland regions and a key component in achieving such outcome is the linking of public services and information flows to the deployment and use of new Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). It is against this backdrop that the ICT Access and e-Services project will be executed over a five-year period beginning on 1 December 2017. The USD17M project is being funded by the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF).
The project has four main outputs which seek to strengthen Guyana’s E-government policy environment and legislation with respect to Hinterland, Poor and Remote (HPR) communities; and ensure that these citizens have increased access to Public e-services and information and training to build their capacity to use ICTs.
In her remarks at the signing ceremony, Minister Catherine Hughes said, “For far too long the digital divide between these areas and the Coastland has been real. With this project, we are about to change those circumstances and start the transformation of our people in these areas.”
Echoing similar sentiments, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanaka, applauded the Government of Guyana and the Kingdom of Norway for their cooperation and for the confidence in UNDP being a partner entity for GRIF and for this project. She quoted former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan who had famously said, “Knowledge is power, Information is Liberating”, and explained that she looks forward to learning from the experience of delivering this project relevant lessons applicable for delivering GRIF programmes in the hinterland areas, where conditions such as lack of access to ICTs pose broad challenges that this project is trying to address.