Samoa Leading the Pacific into the Digital Future with Communities, Partnership and Cyber-Security at the Fore

UNDP_WS_DigitalPacificOrgTeam2018The Digital Pacific 2018 Organising Committee. Photo credit: MCIT/Hon. A. Tupai/2018.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted “Together for a Digital Pacific 2018” – an event that brought together the brightest minds from Samoa, the region and the world around the mantra of “Getting Our Governments and Economies Ready for the Digital Age”. The impetus for the event has been the drastic increases in connectivity in Samoa and the region. During both Digital Pacific and Digital Samoa components a common thread emerged: the need to ensure the Pacific works together to leapfrog old technologies and together creating economies of scale and implement secure, sustainable and inclusive solutions for the peoples of the Pacific.  

Digital Pacific 2018

The Regional Conference, Digital Pacific 2018, was held on 7-8 June at Samoa Convention Centre, TATTE Building. This event showcased lessons learnt and best practices in digital transformation from around the world: from as far afield as Estonia, the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean and closer to home, the experiences of New Zealand and Australia. 

A tech showcase including local, regional and international solutions providers highlighted some of the latest innovations that will revolutionize how Citizens, Governments, Business and young people can embrace the digital future. The event took place in the lead up to a regional leaders meeting in Tonga for the Progress Review of the SAMOA Pathway, which includes specific priorities on adoption of technology and on multi-stakeholder partnerships for development in the Pacific.

Some key take-away points from Digital Pacific 2018

• Leaders present agreed to make Digital Pacific an annual event and that leaders, experts and stakeholders would continue to build on the progress made at the conference;

• Digital Government must be oriented towards people and communities, not just government and business, though these are important too;  

• National Digital ID is a core building block of digitalization and lessons learnt regionally and globally should be heeded implementing this reform in Samoa and the region; 

• The biggest issue in the Pacific is not technology, the question is one of implementation, coordination and change management; 

• No one country should go it alone; economies of scale, sharing of expertise and regional cooperation are essential for success and should be further pursued. 

Digital Samoa 2018 

The National Conference, held in TATTE on Monday 11 June, brought together the ideas and solutions of Digital Pacific 2018 home to forge the path ahead for Samoa. Having heard of the successes, failures, trials and tribulations from across the region and the world, leaders, stakeholders and decision-makers began to forge the path forward for a digitized, tech-savvy Samoa. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi emphasized the importance of cyber security and national ownership in ensuring that the digital transformation process leads to more unified communities. 

Some key take-away points from Digital Samoa 2018

• Whole of Government assessment of its Legislative Framework, Regulations, Policies & Systems related to Digital Transformation (Cybersecurity, Cybercrime, Digital Integrated Services, Critical Infrastructure, National ID, e-Government Services, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, etc);

• Representatives from Government, Private, Academia & Organisations in attendance agreed that the political will, leaders drive and buy-in of ALL sectors of Samoa is crucial;

• Empower Public Private Partnership (PPP), ongoing consultation, awareness & roadshows  to ensure no one is left behind;

• Building talent and digital cababilities across ALL sectors of Samoa for future digital employments and to deliver digital services.


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