Samoa’s regulator is new regional chair

Samoa’s regulator Lefaoali'i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti has been appointed chair of the Policy and Regulation Forum for Pacific.

She is the first woman in the Pacific Islands to take on the regional role and has succeeded Charles Punaha, the C.E.O. of Papua New Guinea’s National Information & Communications Technology Authority.

Lefaoali'i was elected by participants at the closing of the three-day Asia-Pacific Telecommunity Conference on Thursday, which Samoa hosted for the first time this week. 

“I am overwhelmed with the fact that it’s going to be hard work, especially to fill the shoes of the outgoing chairman, Charles Punaha from Papua New Guinea who has been a chairman for a long time.

“I am content, I think I will represent Samoa well with the support of island members and it should be fine.

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“I would take all the issues that were discussed in our three-day forum one at a time. And to make sure that by the end of my term I will be able to achieve these goals,” she said.

Lefaoali'i said her main objective during her term is to get everyone connected.

“There is still a great need of action to be done so there are a lot of things we need to work on, to make sure that at the end of the day there will be outcomes, instead of having so many forums that does not produce any action plans.

She also added that as a chair she will not only be responsible for Samoa but the whole region.

“As my main priority is getting people in the region to connect and make sure the region is safe and also making sure the service is delivered.”

At the present, the membership of PRFP consists of the following 16 countries and territories: Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Niue.

Lefaoali'i was first selected as the Samoan Regulator in 2015 and was re-appointed in November of this year for her second term.

She has a Masters of Engineering from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia as well as a Bachelor in engineering and advance diploma of engineering from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

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