Kingston, Jamaica, June 28, 2012 - The Government of Jamaica, together with the World Bank and in partnership with the Jamaican telecommunications companies Flow and Lime, the Development Bank of Jamaica, the Jamaica National Building Society, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched today the Digital Jam 2.0., a digital market and job fair that will be open until this Saturday.
The event connects Jamaica’s youth with national and international companies and investors operating in the global virtual space, exploring new employment entrepreneurship and business development opportunities.
“Jamaican youth have a great potential to become the growth engine of a modern and competitive Jamaica. The Government of Jamaica is committed to unlocking this potential by tapping into the web-based jobs and business ownership opportunities that the virtual economy offers,” said Hon. Lisa Hanna, Minister of Youth and Culture. “The Digital Jam 2.0 is one tangible step as part of the comprehensive vision of the Government to promote jobs for youth through Information and Communications Technologies,” she added.
About 5,000 young people are attending the event which includes seminars, a market place, a job fair, software training sessions, hands-on exercises for people on how to use online job platforms, a 24h hours hackathon (a 24h marathon from idea to finish to generate mobile apps for the sports industry) and an applications contest.
Web-based jobs offer many advantages:
- flexibility and “micro-work” (tasks that are broken into component parts and then outsourced online),
- “e-lancing” (where young people offer their services via online portals)
- “crowdsourcing” (where they can participate in finding collaborative solutions for large projects launched by companies and other entities online) only require basic IT skills and an Internet connection. Tasks can be performed at any time, and from anywhere, providing the worker with greater leeway to organize their daily routine and more control over their work hours and associated income.
“The Digital Jam 2.0 might become a milestone in Jamaica’s efforts to generate new and innovative solutions to youth unemployment,” said Françoise Clottes, World Bank Director for the Caribbean, “This is the first event of this kind in Jamaica and in the Caribbean region, and we believe it has great potential for replication across the world”.
The Digital Jam 2.0 is setting the stage to address broader agendas, such as the modernization and digitalization of Jamaica, a move towards mobile services, banking and commerce, and reaping the benefits from online employment opportunities.
“We live in the age of technology and there are countless possibilities for youth to find employment online or to set up a small business to serve national, regional or global clients,” said Fabio Pittaluga, World Bank Senior Social Development Specialist and coordinator of the initiative.
Going forward, the Digital Jam 2.0 wants to leverage public and private entities to diversify the Jamaican economy using IT technologies and the online world. It also aims to facilitate new investments, the incubation of start-ups, the establishment of microwork aggregator hubs, and a move towards digitalization of government.
The Digital Jam 2.0 is part of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF), a one-year initiative, recently launched by the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), in close collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Department For International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The objective of the CGF is to inspire the sharing of knowledge and ideas on practical policies to stimulate sustainable and inclusive growth, and create jobs.