Between July 16th and 20th, a delegation from Curaçao, under the guidance of the Minister of Economic Development, Ruisandro Cijntje, and the Minister of Traffic, Transportation, and Urban Planning, Charles Cooper, embarked on a productive trip to the 38th edition of the CANTO conference and exhibition in Miami. The delegation comprised at least 20 leading companies from the thriving ICT sector in Curaçao, all eager to make their mark on this prestigious event. Notably, CANTO’s magnetic appeal extended far and wide, drawing in over 600 participants from across the Caribbean, all converging in Miami to explore the future of technology and innovation in the region.
The delegation from Curaçao returned from this trip with a sense of triumph, following an impressive and engaging performance. Over the course of two eventful days, the conference focused on crucial discussions about the state of telecommunications in the region, enriched by valuable insights from governmental bodies and regulatory authorities, all aiming to shape the future direction of telecommunication companies. The climax of the event saw concrete actions taken to position Curaçao as the ‘Digital Hub of the Americas.’
One of the major highlights of the conference was the grand unveiling of the e-marketplace, a groundbreaking platform that showcases the public initiatives of governmental bodies within the region. Curaçao took the lead as the platform’s inaugural featured country, a testament to the island’s commitment to embracing digital transformation and promoting its offerings on the global stage. Moreover, on the conference’s final day, Minister Cijntje witnessed the signing of a momentous Memorandum of Understanding between Blue Nap Americas and Datasur of Suriname. This historic agreement marked the establishment of a Data Center association for the Caribbean, and Curaçao was chosen as the location for its headquarters. Additionally, the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) welcomed Blue Nap Americas as a member, further reinforcing Curaçao’s status as a regional ICT leader. The island’s next objective is to secure membership in the CTU, solidifying its position as a key player in the region’s ICT landscape.
A glimpse into the promising future of the ICT sector
The strategic vision of Curaçao’s National Export Strategy 2022-2027 (NES) has accurately identified the ICT sector as a pivotal driver for diversifying and elevating the country’s economy. The Minister of Economic Development has earnestly committed to nurturing and expanding this sector, recognizing it as one of the four pillars of economic growth. While the Canto Conference has traditionally focused on telecommunications and infrastructure, this year’s edition embraced a broader outlook, encompassing the entirety of the ICT sector. The global significance of ICT in today’s interconnected world reinforces the belief that Curaçao’s ICT strategy holds immense promise for the island’s future prosperity.
Curaçao is an important player in the regional ICT landscape
Canto 38 witnessed Curaçao take on a leadership role within the region’s ICT landscape. More than 20 ICT companies showcased the island’s strengths, setting a commendable example for other nations through collaborative efforts. Minister Cooper underscored the importance of building a united and cooperative regional environment, emphasizing the need to foster synergy instead of unhealthy competition among telecommunication companies. By encouraging companies to enhance their services through healthy competition, insightful discussions were sparked, leading to constructive dialogues within smaller committees, addressing the challenges posed by multinational entities.
The digital hub of the Americas
As Curaçao’s National Export Strategy enters its implementation phase, the vision of becoming the digital hub of the Americas for the ICT sector is taking shape through the Digital Hub Americas initiative. This is an ambitious platform aimed at centralizing all ICT service providers from Curaçao, fostering collaboration, and propelling the island to the forefront of the digital revolution. With boundless potential and unwavering determination, Curaçao is taking significant strides forward.
In the previous edition of the CANTO conference, Minister Cooper astutely highlighted the need for greater representation of the ICT industry in the event’s program. This year, Curaçao responded resoundingly with the introduction of the groundbreaking Digital Hub Americas platform. During the conference’s official opening, Mrs. Teresa Wankin, the Secretary-General of CANTO, lauded Minister Cooper’s commitment and praised Curaçao’s exceptional leadership in this transformative endeavor.
Digital Hub Americas is spearheaded by Blue Nap Americas and the Bureau Telecommunicatie & Post (BTP), and backed by essential partners like CINEX, CIFC, Simia, and the Chamber of Commerce. At its core, it facilitates seamless interaction among companies operating in the digital economy ecosystem, empowering them to offer commercial and professional services to governments and the private sector across the Western Hemisphere.
Through such collaborations, new products and services are born, enriching communities and enhancing client services. Moreover, this alliance helps identify skilled developers and companies capable of bringing these cutting-edge offerings to life, while also pinpointing areas for upskilling DHA members to better serve the international market.
Canto 40: A momentous return to Curaçao!
As the curtains fell on the 38th edition of Canto, excitement filled the air with the announcement of Canto’s return to Curaçao for its prestigious 40th edition in 2025. Minister Cijntje extended a cordial invitation to Canto’s President, Mike Antonius, and Secretary-General, Theresa Wankin, to bring the conference back to the Caribbean and host this landmark event in Curaçao. President Antonius graciously accepted the invitation, officially confirming Curaçao as the proud host of CANTO 40. In preparation for the momentous occasion, Secretary-General Wankin will visit Curaçao in August for a site inspection, ensuring that the event surpasses all expectations.
Curaçao’s resounding success at Canto 38 has reaffirmed its prominent position as a trailblazer in the region’s ICT landscape. With the government’s unwavering commitment to nurturing the ICT sector as a pillar of economic growth, the island is poised to realize its ambitions of becoming the digital hub of the Americas. The anticipation for Canto 40 in Curaçao is palpable, as everyone eagerly awaits to witness the island’s progress on its transformative journey.
In addition, Curaçao’s vision for Digital Hub Americas is profound: positioning itself as a connected local hub with the capacity to deliver services globally. By embracing a “co-create locally and deliver globally” approach, Curaçao is laying the groundwork for a thriving digital ecosystem that will not only elevate the island’s standing in the Caribbean but also set new standards for digital innovation on a global scale.
As the journey to becoming the digital hub of the Americas unfolds, Curaçao stands at the forefront of transformation, ready to embrace the opportunities of the digital age and create a brighter future for its citizens and businesses alike. With the collective efforts of visionary leaders and innovative ICT companies, Curaçao is poised to chart a path of success that will resonate throughout the Caribbean and beyond.
For more information on Digital Hub Americas and its founding members, please visit the Digital Hub Americas website.