We live in a unique moment in history where the pace of technological change is evolving at an exponential rate and the speed of digital transformation has no precedence.
Twenty years ago, the rate of digital traffic per day was approximately 20 gigabytes. Today, digital traffic has grown to two exabytes (EB) per day (1 EB is equal to 1billion gigabytes). Internet usage by companies from Enterprise to small size companies and digital device subscribers continues to grow. In a matter of less than 20 years the internet consolidated itself as a very powerful platform that has changed forever the way the world does business and communicates. For example according to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the number of internet users as of March 2000 was 304 million (5.8% of world population). In December of 2017, the number of internet users reached 4,156 million (54.4% of world population). The internet has become the universal source of information for millions of people, at home, at school and at work. By 2020, the economic output of all of the world’s nations will have grown to more than 4 times its size in 1980.
Our first issue of The Next Wave Magazine reflects how changes made possible by the pace of innovation in technologies and digital transformation are transforming our daily lives. The Next Wave features the projects that the Caribbean countries are implementing now to prepare the region for a more resilient and renewable future. Government officials, corporate leaders, and all major organizations and businesses in the Caribbean region are of one mind in their focus on the linkage between digital transformation and more rapid economic growth.
The impact of this phenomenon will be dramatic, and it will herald a bright future and it will provide opportunities to many. A new leadership will be needed to define what this next wave of digital transformation will look like, how it will happen, how it can reduce poverty, and how to minimize the social divide.
Renewable energy is another strategic area that is essential for the future of the Caribbean. Months after the onslaught of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, power in some parts of the Caribbean had not been restored.
This disruption in reliable power service was due in part to the Caribbean’s reliance on fossil fuels, the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters, and the challenge of integrating new and greener sources of power into their national power grids. In order to become more resilient, energy efficient, and cost-effective, the people of the Caribbean region must consider a wide range of new and renewable technologies to transform the region’s energy sector.
This first issue of The Next Wave Magazine is meant to feature how The Caribbean Country Department is dedicated to creating vibrant and resilient economies in the Caribbean and how the IDB is focused on improving lives. The Next Wave highlights new trends, current news, and on-going projects that are transforming the future of the Caribbean region. We at the IDB’s Caribbean Country Department, counting on the support of various contributing sectors at the Inter-American Development Bank and Virgin Unite, wish to thank all who have helped make the first edition of The Next Wave a compelling and engaging magazine. We hope that you enjoy reading it.