In August 2023, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched in Suva the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP), a program aiming at accelerating ICT Infrastructure development and promoting a secure online environment in the Pacific region.
Digital connectivity is a critical factor for the Pacific to integrate its domestic markets and move closer to the global economy. However, the journey towards adoption is fraught with challenges. Many communities lack 3G or 4G coverage, and even for those with access, the internet can be unreliable and costly, especially for those living in remote areas.
Mr Henry Puna, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat emphasised, ‘Last year, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders launched the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. The strategy paints a vision for a resilient Pacific Region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity. As part of our journey to achieve that vision, we aspire to a future in which all Pacific peoples benefit from access to affordable, safe, and reliable ICT infrastructure, systems, and operations, while ensuring culturally sensitive user protection and cybersecurity,”.
The success of the 2050 Strategy, particularly in the Technology and Connectivity aspect, hinges on the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap (Regional E-commerce Strategy). This underscores the importance of initiatives like DCCP-Pacific, which are instrumental in supporting the implementation of measures outlined in the Regional E-commerce Strategy and enabling the people of the Pacific to reap the economic benefits of e-commerce and the digital economy.
During the launch event, Mr Michael Schiffer, USAID Assistant Administrator delivered a promising message, stating, “USAID is here to listen, partner, and deliver – together with the people of the countries of the Pacific Islands. Through DCCP-Pacific, we will facilitate investments in broadband connectivity and digital government transformation; promote community-level solutions; and leverage traditional and non-traditional technologies, such as low-earth orbit satellite access, to enhance digital connectivity so that more Pacific Islanders can access secure internet and participate in the digital economy.”
The launch also marked a significant milestone with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the USAID DCCP-Pacific and the University of the Pacific, signifying a first, enthusiastic, partnership in the Pacific. Hon. Minister Manoa Kamikamica witnessed the events and commended the program’s potential to advance Fiji and the Pacific towards a sustainable, inclusive and secure digital economy.
For the USAID press release, click here.
For more information on the USAID DCCP program, click here.
For more information on the programs supporting the implementation of the Regional E-commerce Strategy, click here.
For more information on the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, click here.