Samoa continues to lead the way in the region in digital transformation efforts when it launched a tool to help the government develop a high-level initial understanding of its national digital strengths and weaknesses.
It launched its own Digital Readiness Assessment Tool (DRA) today making it is one of the first nations in the Pacific to do so. The DRA will help the government take stock of their digital transformation pathways, and to identify priorities and gaps across government, business ecosystems and infrastructure, the regulatory environment, and human capacity.
The launch was held today to coincide with the opening of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy Development and Implementation workshop, to be held throughout the week. The workshop engages government policy makers and ICT experts from various sectors and industries to collaborate in learning and sharing on how to develop sound, futuristic ICT policies that can address the needs of citizens and the nation through ICT developments.
Both events are coordinated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“We are living in an information society in which ICTs are recognized as a vital tool in achieving sustainable human development. But the reality is, the advancement in these technologies has also, at the same time, widened the gap between those who have access and those who do not, especially in developing countries such as ours. The challenge is to make ICTs available not just to those that can afford it or are more advanced by having the means to do so, but also to the less advanced and marginalized communities in both rural and urban areas. Hence, accelerating the transition to digital, especially in the face of the COVID-19 emergency, is even more necessary and urgent,” said Afioga Toelupe Poumulinuku Onesemo, Hon. Minister of Communications & Information Technology.
“To do this, the guidance of relevant evidence-based policy and regulation is crucial. The challenge is to ensure that the benefits of ICTs can foster growth, development and access for the majority of our people.”
The DRA will complement existing initiatives that Samoa is currently engaged with as part of its digital agenda. It will provide insight into major projects like the National Digital ID, Digital Government Platform, Domestic and Regional IXP Infrastructure and National Cyber-resilient efforts and activities as well as various other niche and focused digital developments in health, education and agriculture.
“UNDP is committed to help countries realize their full digital development potential. Digital transformation is no longer an option – it is critical in our race towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we count down to the 2030 deadline. We’re pleased to partner with the Government of Samoa through MCIT in launching this critical tool and hosting this workshop,” said Verena Linneweber, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative.
It is also hoped that through all these digital initiatives and ccommitments, the government will be able to create new markets in the digital space which in turn will provide more job opportunities and improve livelihoods.
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Laufaleaina Lesa, UNDP Multi Country Office, Samoa|Tel. +685 23670|E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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