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TSTT CEO Ronald Walcott

CANTO and Caribbean Telcos Aim to Use Technology to Impact UN SDG Initiatives

TSTT Corporate Communications

Press Release

The CANTO Connect & 40th Annual General Meeting Celebration brought leaders in telecommunications, technology services, artificial intelligence and fintech together with business leaders at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain recently. The AGM has become a hub for networking and thought leadership not only for Caribbean companies but those in Latin America as well.

In her feature address, Teresa Wankin, Secretary General of CANTO Caribbean, highlighted that the organisation is fully committed in thought and action to the theme of 'Towards a Sustainable Digital Economy.' Her opening remarks noted, "The United Nations has called for all to lend support to its seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SG13-Climate Action, and what the telecoms and ICT sectors can do to reduce their carbon footprint will be some of the issues explored at our various forums this year. We will also examine how smart technologies are aiding firms to create, measure, and sustain carbon-efficient operations."

Wankin ensured that the organisation would also remain committed to its core goals of 'advocacy, the provision of training, and the facilitation and creation of the necessary platforms to enable the development of strategic business partnerships' in support of members' goals. Wankin welcomed the growth in CANTO with sixteen (16) new members and thanked sponsors, including TSTT, a founding member of CANTO.

Keino Cox, Assistant General Manager, Emerging Services & Innovation, TSTT recalled that ‘in 2015, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean countries were among the 193 members of the United Nations to commit to taking action on the 17 SDGs and that digital transformation was a cornerstone in these efforts. "Seventy per cent of the targets of all 17 SDGs rely directly on digital technologies for their success as evidenced in the Digital Acceleration Agenda 2023 Report, which showcases 34 real-life examples of how this is happening,” he noted. Cox added, "Digital transformation can positively impact the cost and availability of food. It can create new markets for our unique cultural and artisan products. It can enable effective collaboration among agro-producers, manufacturers, tourism operators, entertainment agencies, and the entire spectrum of regional service providers. Leveraging digital technologies, all these players can work together to capitalise on trade and investment opportunities while reducing costs and improving efficiencies."

This big picture is driving the TSTT we know and see today. Cox pointed out, "TSTT is certainly committed to working with all the stakeholders to leverage digital technology and build T&T's own distinct digital future. We have already built the backbone infrastructure which supports the majority of the country's electronic communications and transactions. This is a tiny country with limited land space and scarce albeit world class human resources and physical infrastructure. We need to find the right balance between the competitiveness that drives efficiency and the collaboration that will network and leverage scarce resources to optimally deliver digital services to this country, the region, and our people. With this in mind, digital transformation can improve the quality of life of all our citizens, regardless of their socio-economic realities or whether they reside in the capital city, suburbs or remotest reaches of the country."

The event featured several ministers for communications, planning, and utilities from across the region and shared insights from leaders in AI, 5G, outsourcing, and more. TSTT's Tanya Muller, Senior IT Infrastructure Manager, also delivered thought leadership on behalf of the native telecom provider on a panel titled 'Unveiling the Future of Caribbean Data Centres' alongside Giovanni King, CEO of Blue Nap Americas and Dr Anvit Ramlakhan, CEO of Datasur.

Chairman for CANTO, Mike Antonius, highlighted the gravitas of the work being placed on regional telcos while they struggle to attract new income streams. He shared that the organisation' in 2023, joined the Caribbean Telecommunications Union in meetings with ‘OTT's Big Six’ to lobby for arrangements that would see them paying their fair share of development costs for network infrastructure that supports their content.' He elaborated, "CANTO is also supporting members' efforts to modernise and reconfigure their business models in pursuit of alternative sources of revenue in the face of declining revenues in traditional lines of business." He also noted that CANTO is deeply engaged in business continuity planning for post-disasters in the region, fintech measures to bank the unbanked, and exploring initiatives in telemedicine to improve health and wellness outcomes in the area.

The three-day event continued the post-covid AGMs' success with annual attendance and engagement growth and also featured a fun, Soca-music-centred fitness burnout for attendees who join from across the Caribbean Basin and Latin America.

About CANTO: CANTO is a non-profit association comprising operators, organisations, companies and individuals in the ICT (telecommunications) sector. The Association has a Caribbean focus as it relates to ICT issues for the region with a global perspective.

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