ICT for development in the Pacific islands

An assessment of e-government capabilities in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Soloman Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu
Electronic government information Information technology Public sector Fiji Papua New Guinea Samoa Solomon Islands Tonga Vanuatu

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) as an invisible driver of socio-economic change have long captured the imagination of politicians, policymakers and aid professionals alike.

Since the first fibre-optic submarine cable connected Fiji 20 years ago, many reports and studies have been written about the potential that the introduction of ICTs in the South Pacific would bring for reaching targets of poverty reduction and economic growth. 

The internet, mobile devices and e-commerce have already penetrated the Pacific, configured to the political, economic and sociocultural context of the various island nations. 

This report takes a step back and zooms in on one aspect of that digital revolution: e-government.

E-Government is defined as a set of capabilities and activities that involves the use of ICTs by government to improve intragovernmental processes and to connect with citizens, businesses and industry. 

This report finds that the potential of ICTs to enable stronger governance, effective public service delivery and better government services is there. In all countries that are part of this study, critical foundational infrastructure is in place: 

  • Government broadband networks that connect departments, schools and hospitals have been established.
  • Central government data centres have been built, public registries are being digitised, and the introduction of national (digital) identities is currently being considered.
  • All Pacific island states have introduced relevant strategy and policy documents and have reviewed, or are currently reviewing, legislation related to data-sharing, cybersecurity and universal access.
  • All islands have an online presence that is steadily professionalising. Government (information) services are increasingly provided online, along with tourism information, fisheries data, geological data and meteorological forecasts. 
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