The digital economy: Advancing the opportunities for youth in Jamaica

A perosn holding a tablet.

The digital economy is an economy comprised primarily of computing technologies and facilitated by the interconnectivity of the world. Also called the ‘new economy’ or the ‘internet economy’, it is becoming increasingly intertwined with the traditional economy, blurring the line of demarcation.

For the youth living in this age, it is a vehicle to limitless economic opportunities that generations before them had no access to.

As a 19-year-old Jamaican woman from a lower-middle-class household I can say that this is true. The minimum wage in Jamaica for a 40-hour workweek is roughly US$70. This number increases based on a college education, years in the field and an extensive network.

I have none of the aforementioned. In fact, my last ‘real job’ paid me barely above the minimum wage, and that is the reality for many young Jamaicans.

Without the ready availability of knowledge and the global network accessible through the internet, my economic prospects would seem grim. But that’s not the case. Instead, I find myself with more hope than many people employed in a bricks-and-mortar 9 to 5 job.

I’ve taken the path to turn my passion into a copywriting career through a rigorous self-education programme made up of online courses, books, mentors from all around the world and dedication. Without the internet, this wouldn’t have been possible. The knowledge and opportunity available to me through this avenue have transformed my life.

The digital economy has enabled me to earn more working from home, on a schedule that I choose, with no upper limit to my earning potential aside from my own abilities. Currently, I’m a direct response copywriter. I work with my clients to craft compelling marketing messages through emails, sales pages and blog content, and create strategies to increase sales and conversions. The internet allows me to work with people all over the world, easily.

This economic advancement puts me in a position to elevate other close members of my ecosystem through financial advice, monetary assistance and training on how to create sustainable careers through the internet for themselves.

Out of my desire to create a life unlike anything I have ever experienced, the digital economy has opened up an avenue for me and other young people around the world to do so. We break barriers and redefine the norm through the most valuable currency of our time – knowledge.

This article was written by Devonnie Garvey, 19, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, as part of the 2017 State of the World's Children report.