February 10th, 2015
ST JOHN’S, ANTIGUA , 09 FEBRUARY 2015 – The Honourable Melford Nicholas, Minister of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, and Information Technology of Antigua & Barbuda welcomed Caribbean technology and education officials, as well as representatives of companies and civil society, meeting today in Antigua to reflect on how ICTs can be used more effectively to facilitate the lives of people with disabilities in the region.
Disability remains a leading cause of poverty and exclusion worldwide. Meeting over three days at the island’s Jolly Beach Resort, the participants will discuss a range of issues, and also showcase successful ongoing initiatives, partnerships and best practices in the region and beyond. The workshop is designed to develop practical ways through which people with disabilities in the region can be empowered through the appropriate use of ICTs.
“In addition to the moral argument for making ICTs available to people with disabilities, there is also a strong economic argument, as ICTs can enable people with disabilities to be more productive in the economy while also taking them away from the social welfare budget.” said Professor Tim Unwin, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and one of the lead facilitators at the event.
“ICTs can transform the lives of the 10 per cent of the world’s population living with disabilities, far more than they can the 90% who have fewer disabilities”, he added.
Meeting at the first biennial Commonwealth ICT Ministers Forum held in London in 2013, Commonwealth ministers committed to ensuring that people with disabilities in Commonwealth countries benefit more appropriately from the use of ICTs, and this regional event is part of a broader e-inclusion effort to deliver on last year’s commitment in the Caribbean region.
ICTs for people with disabilities is a key issue for the CTO whose work in this area started with the hosting of the Commonwealth e-Accessibility Summit it convened in London in August 2013.