The South Pacific needs to bridge the digital divide if the region is to maximise its benefits from the ever-evolving ICT sector, says Permanent Secretary for Communications Elizabeth Powell.
She made these comments while opening the Pacific ICT Regulatory Resource Centre (PIRRC) located in the University of the South Pacific’s Japan-Pacific ICT Centre.
“The resources made available through the PIRRC will help ensure that member-states make sound policy decisions based on current international best practices,” she said.
Ms Powell said the PIRRC was an invaluable opportunity for each of us. It presents an opportunity for Pacific Island States to develop ICT regulatory policies and legislation that will help:
l protect the interests and electronic security of our citizens and nations;
l provide a framework to drive the development of the ICT sector in our countries and secure maximum socio-economic benefits from technological advances and opportunities, propelling economic growth; and
l resolve the communications challenges that our small countries face with our numerous islands and small populations separated from each other and larger centres of commerce by huge tracts of South Pacific ocean.
She labelled the establishment of the resource centre as a recognition by the World Bank of the existing knowledge gap in the South Pacific.
Ms Powell said with its location and through the use of the technology available at the ICT Centre, PIRRC would be able to quickly respond to and assist member-island states throughout the region.
The centre is funded by the World Bank and managed by LIRNEasia, a consultancy firm from Sri Lanka.