Unleashing the potential for socio-economic development in the Pacific with ICT

Network Strategies recommends policy updates for the Pacific Regional Digital Strategy

Auckland, New Zealand – February 1, 2011

In a detailed assessment of the current state of ICT capacity and usage across Pacific island nations, Network Strategies identified two fundamental challenges facing the region:

  • the need to improve the adequacy, accessibility and affordability of ICT infrastructure
  • the importance of improving education & training to build ICT capacity so that usage of such infrastructure will increase

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat commissioned Network Strategies in 2010 to undertake a comprehensive review of the impact of the Pacific Regional Digital Strategy on ICT in the region. We explored ICT technological, policy, regulatory, market and economic developments in the Pacific since 2006.

This review provided valuable information to support our recommendations on updating the Strategy to address existing and impending challenges, while building on the progress and knowledge gained since the launch of the first Digital Strategy.

Dr Suella Hansen, Director of Network Strategies, introduced the study to regional ICT leaders at the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) meeting in Honiara in April 2010. She commented that, “ICT offers huge potential for social and economic development in the Pacific” and invited stakeholders across the region to assist in identifying gaps and emerging needs, given the lack of published information on relevant issues and initiatives. Subsequently we obtained key input and feedback from numerous Pacific Governments, Ministries, donors, agencies and ICT sector players.

We found that regional organisations are striving to promote the benefits of ICT at both the national and regional levels, and also in the private sector. At the same time the accessibility and cost of communications technology remain significant barriers to meeting current and future socio-economic needs in the region. One implication is that many converged applications (such as e-government, e-commerce, e-health and e-education) that are commonplace in developed countries are either non-existent or in their infancy in the Pacific.

About Network Strategies

Network Strategies works at the forefront of the telecommunications revolution, delivering advice and insight to operators, manufacturers and governments. From offices in Auckland, London, Melbourne and Wellington, Network Strategies staff provide strategic consultancy to clients throughout the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America, offering a complete global outlook on key issues affecting all players in the telecoms sector.

Media contacts

New Zealand:
Suella Hansen
Tel: +64 9 522 1702
E-mail: s.hansen@strategies.nzl.com

Noelle Jones
Tel: +61 3 9830 0152
E-mail: n.jones@strategies.nzl.com