Forging a path for digital Samoa
In an effort to forge the path for a digitised, tech-savvy Samoa, the Digital Samoa national conference was held at the T.A.T.T.E. building last week.
The symposium brought together the ideas and solutions of Digital Pacific 2018 home to forge the path ahead for Samoa.
Prior to holding the national conference, the regional Digital Pacific 2018 summit was also held at the same venue on the 7-8 June, 2018, which highlighted successes, failures, trials and tribulations from across the region and the world.
This regional event was a collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (M.C.I.T.) and the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.), who hosted “Together for a Digital Pacific 2018” – an event that brought together the brightest minds from Samoa, the region and the world around the mantra of “Getting Our Governments and Economies Ready for the Digital Age”.
The impetus for the event has been the drastic increases in connectivity in Samoa and the region.
According to a press statement, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi emphasised the importance of cyber security and national ownership in ensuring that the digital transformation process leads to more unified communities.
Some key take-away points from Digital Samoa 2018, according to the statement, included:
• Whole of Government assessment of its Legislative framework, regulations, policies and systems related to digital transformation (cybersecurity, cybercrime, digital integrated services, critical infrastructure, national ID, e-Government services, blockchain, Cloud Computing, etc);
• Representatives from Government, private, academia and organisations in attendance agreed that the political will, leaders drive and buy-in of all sectors of Samoa is crucial;
• Empower Public Private Partnership (P.P.P.), ongoing consultation, awareness and roadshows to ensure no one is left behind; and
• Building talent and digital capabilities across all sectors of Samoa for future digital employments and to deliver digital services.
The statement said during both the Digital Pacific and Digital Samoa workshops components a common thread emerged: the need to ensure the Pacific works together to leapfrog old technologies and together creating economies of scale and implement secure, sustainable and inclusive solutions for the peoples of the Pacific.
Digital Pacific showcased lessons learnt and best practices in digital transformation from around the world: from as far afield as Estonia, the Small Island Developing States (S.I.D.S.) of the Caribbean and closer to home, the experiences of New Zealand and Australia, the statement said.
A tech showcase including local, regional and international solutions providers highlighted some of the latest innovations that will revolutionise how citizens, Governments, business and young people can embrace the digital future, it said.
The event took place in the lead up to a regional leaders meeting in Tonga for the Progress Review of the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway, which includes specific priorities on adoption of technology and on multi-stakeholder partnerships for development in the Pacific, it said.
The statement said at the end of the meeting, leaders agreed to:
• Make Digital Pacific an annual event and that leaders, experts and stakeholders would continue to build on the progress made at the conference;
• Digital Government must be oriented towards people and communities, not just government and business, though these are important too;
• National Digital ID is a core building block of digitalization and lessons learnt regionally and globally should be heeded implementing this reform in Samoa and the region;
• The biggest issue in the Pacific is not technology, the question is one of implementation, coordination and change management; and
• No one country should go it alone; economies of scale, sharing of expertise and regional cooperation are essential for success and should be further pursued.