Connecting the Small Island Developing States to the Information Society
ITU has completed a connectivity project in Samoa and Solomon Islands that involved the implementation of twenty (ten for each country) multipurpose community telecentres (MCTs) intended to serve as access points to voice communication and ICT services for the local communities, businesses and schools. In Samoa, the project was implemented in two districts, Upolu and Savaii, and benefits from the government's ongoing efforts as outlined in its strategic plan. In Solomon Islands, the ten multipurpose community information centres were established in Honiara, Guadalcanal province.
The project provides the local community with access to basic ICT facilities such as telephony, computer literacy, Internet, faxes, desktop publishing. These facilities are meant to facilitate easy access to education materials through e-education, medical information and services, business related information that should stimulate rapid growth of local businesses and enable farmers to easily access market data (e.g. prices of products, government online information). The facilities will go a long way towards the training of the local population in ICTs and preparing unemployed persons for new job challenges and opportunities coming with the new information age.
This connectivity project builds on the Global ICT Forum for the Least Developed Countries that was held in Mauritius in 2004 and the Sub-Regional ICT Forum for Pacific Island States that was subsequently held in Suva, Fiji in December 2004, where the Pacific Islands States addressed the needs, priorities and challenges of these isolated countries with regards to enhancing ICT development for ensuring that an equitable information society becomes a reality.
To buttress this assistance that was delivered in 2005, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Kiribati will benefit from the ITU’s LDC concentrated assistance in both 2005 and 2006, with Kiribati continuing to benefit in 2007 with a group of other LDCs. Other LDCs in this region will at all times be eligible for receiving ad hoc assistance
Pacific Islands (14 Countries)
Some Pacific Islands SIDs, namely Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu have benefited from initiatives designed to help them develop their national sector policy and regulatory framework. Expertise was provided by ITU for the development of a national sector policy and a regulatory framework for each participating country, as well as policy harmonization at the Subregional level. In total, Fourteen Pacific Island countries participated in the Subregional project. The project was co-funded by Asia-Pacific Telecommunity, Government of Australia, ITU, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association, and United Nations Development Programme.