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2012/04/04 - WITSA gives Bermuda global IT presence

* by Marisa Stones in The Royal Gazette Online



“Think we should join WHAT SA?” I asked at a meeting of the Business Technology Division (BTD) of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce (BCC) back in 2006.

I was attending the monthly meeting of the division that has been in existence since the year 2000, to promote technology in business on the Island.

“No, its WITSA, the World Information Technology and Services Alliance,” replied Nancy Volesky, Director and representative from the E-Commerce Department of the Government of Bermuda, “and yes, the BTD should join.”

And so began what we feel has been a successful relationship with WITSA and an increased presence for Bermuda in the global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) world.

In 2006, the Department of E-Commerce supported the BTD’s efforts to become a member of WITSA and in 2007 the BTD partnered again with the Department of E-Commerce of the Government of Bermuda to develop and participate in the bid process to bring the WITSA Global Public Policy Summit (GPPS) to Bermuda. The Bermuda delegation travelled over two years to Cairo, Egypt and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to secure the bid and encourage participation at the event, while also promoting Bermuda as an ICT centre of excellence.

WITSA is a consortium of more than 60 information technology industry associations around the world. WITSA members actually represent over 90 percent of the world ICT market at the last survey and act as a global voice of the ICT industry in many areas.

WITSA is dedicated to advocating policies that advance the industry’s growth and development. It also facilitates international trade and investment in ICT products and services, strengthens WITSA’s national industry associations through the sharing of knowledge, experience, and critical information, and provides members with a vast network of contacts in nearly every geographic region of the world. WITSA hosts a number of global events including the World Congress on ICT, the Global Public Policy Summit (GPPS), and the Global Information Security Summit.

WITSA GPPS in was held in Bermuda in November 2009 and even at the height of the recession around 200 delegates from about 40 countries from around the world, from as far away as New Zealand, travelled to the Island. Key representative bodies from the Global ICT industry and such organisations as the World Bank, WTO, ICANN, ITU, IGF and the OECD joined with government policymakers from several countries to discuss topics as wide-ranging as the future of internet governance, to the use of ICT policy as a driver of economic growth.

For the first time ever, WITSA issued as the output of the Summit a declaration known as the “The Bermuda Declaration” (see link below) which was co-authored by both WITSA and the Bermuda hosts, and was adopted by the delegates. The objective of the declaration was to raise public and institutional awareness and attention to the benefits of a coordinated global ICT policy; to stimulate increased ICT investment, projects, and opportunities; and recommit WITSA to the continued global promotion and development of ICT solutions. This document has been further developed in 2010 and in 2011 at the WCIT in the Netherlands and Mexico respectively.

The Business Technology Division continues to work with WITSA to promote the island as a leader in the region. Our recent appointment as the Caribbean Regional office of WITSA with a seat on the board, as well as on the policy committee, continues to establish Bermuda and build on some of our business strengths. In May 2010, WITSA awarded Bermuda the Industry Development Award which is given annually to recognise efforts to encourage the development of the ICT industry.

The BTD also continues to promote the use of technology to Bermuda business and also evolve according to the needs and realities of the Bermuda business environment. The challenge is to respond to both local and international changes in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) realm. Bermuda is actively spearheading an initiative to develop a WITSA ICT directory for the island and for the region to promote cooperation and act as a resource for business seeking ICT services. There is currently no place where that information is collated and available to start-up companies thinking of setting up in the Caribbean or Bermuda.

Ms Stones is the chair of the Business Technology Division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. Link to Bermuda Declaration:


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