Tuvalu’s Deputy P.M. on fact finding mission

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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Minister of Communication, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i and Tuvalu Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Maatia Toafa.

Minister of Communication, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i and Tuvalu Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Maatia Toafa.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Tuvalu, Maatia Toafa, is in the country.

He is here  to learn more about the arrangement between Samoa and his country in relation to Tui Samoa Cable.

In the beginning of the month, the government had initiated negotiations with Tokelau and Tuvalu over the possibility of connecting the three countries by submarine cable.

In an interview with Mr. Toafa, he said the initiative is very important for small and isolated islands.

“This is a very attractive initiative,” he said.

“As you know for a small pacific island country, we are very much scattered small isolated island countries and we need to have sustainable and more reliable and affordable connectivity.

“We have a satellite system around us but the preference now is cable, we are mindful of the cost.

“This is the very reason why we are here to discuss this with your authority about the offer they can give us so by the time we get home, we can provide the information to our government.

The Cable discussion between Samoa and Tokelau was held during the Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (P.I.T.A) 2017 with Samoa’s delegation being led by the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i.

It was a busy time for regional submarine cable connectivity negotiations, in addition to the announcement of the Manatua Cable consortium between French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue and Samoa. 

But P.I.T.A 2017 was even more significant as it saw the strengthening of ties between Samoa, Tokelau and Tuvalu with the commencement of discussions to connect the three countries by submarine cable.

The goal is to look at ways to improve I.C.T in general for the three countries.

Minister Afamasaga said the discussions are important for Samoa.

“These discussions have been a positive step forward in strengthening Samoa’s ties with our neighbouring islands to create a real and tangible regional partnership,” he said. 

“It is expected that a standalone Tokelau-Tuvalu submarine cable connecting to Samoa whereby international connectivity will be provided via the Tui-Samoa cable system linking Samoa to Suva Fiji then onwards to U.S.A or NZ/Australia. 

“I believe it is the Polynesian Leaders Group (P.L.G.) vision to connect all the Polynesian islands in order to create economic and social development for our people.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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