The Miami Caribbean Code (MC2) Regional Tech conference successfully took place in Miami on June 25th. The event attracted high profiled entrepreneurs and business people from the Caribbean and African countries; with over 75 people of such backgrounds being in attendance. They came together to be on the front in driving a revolution of technology adoption and development in the Caribbean and Africa. The event took place last Thursday in the Design District in Miami.
One of the speakers at the event, Natalie Cofield, the President and CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce said: “Technology is just a thing that should be there to help us solve social problems, solve market problems, solve market demand needs.” She further called upon the Caribbean and African Diaspora to invest back in their home countries and “go home and do business.”
“If we don’t believe in our community enough to go back in and create a solution for them, we’ll be upset that somebody else came and did,” Cofield further said.
Using the example of the United States, from which billions of dollars are sent to Africa and the Caribbean. Cofield challenged the listeners, “So why can’t it flow on distribution channels that are created by the very people who are putting billions into the system?”
Eveline Pierre, a co-Founder of MC2, said the conference was meant to bring a focus on the Caribbean and African need for technological advancement. The summit was organized to act as a bridge between the current gap in technology between the Caribbean and Miami.
Brian Fonseca, the director of operation for the Applied Research Center at Florida International University. Who was also in attendance, said that technology presents possible solutions to some of the problems facing the Caribbean and Africa. Such as government accountability, energy security, access to education and public health access.
“The Caribbean has suffered for a long time from constant brain drain. Intellectuals leave the Caribbean and move into markets that have better quality of life. And that’s just sad because we lose this intellectual power that we should be sustaining in our own communities.” Fonseca said.
Virtually all the panelist that spoke at the event had a thing or two to say about technology and how much impact it can have in the Caribbean and Africa. Technology stands to boost economies, connectivity and have a great social impact.
The president of Maritime Consulting Enterprise, Nehama Bikovsky said, “We have not spoken about new technology that does not exist in the world. However, when we go to the Caribbean, oftentimes we see that this not-amazing-anymore technology is still not there.
There is no doubt that some technologies have begun reaching these regions. However, Jason Ibarra, the chapter director of Startup Grind Miami, warned the attendees to “be a little cynical” about how fast progress is being made there. Citing the example of internet penetration in Cuba, he says the costs are still quite high.
Ibarra said, “I spend personally about 1 percent of my income on broadband internet. If (Cuban citizens) spent 1 percent on broadband internet, they would have 10 minutes a month.”