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Cook Islands to unveil new policy to boost ICT sector

Monday 21 August 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National


Cook Islands to unveil new  policy to boost ICT sector
Stakeholders attend a workshop on developing a Digital Transformation Strategy held in February. Photo: Supplied/23022809

The National ICT Policy and two other associated documents to bolster the country’s information and communication technologies (ICT) division will be launched by Prime Minister Mark Brown this week.

The Policy and two others documents will be briefly introduced during their launch on Wednesday at the Muri Beach Club Hotel.

They will be explained in greater depth at a high-level presentation which will take place on Thursday at the Nautilus Resort from 9am-11.30am.

The Cook Islands ICT Policy 2023-2027 has been produced as a result of several community consultations by Suella Hansen, a network strategist who had previously spent many years working in the internet-related space in the Pacific as well as other regions.

Maureen Hilyard, the national coordinator-consultant of Information and Communication Technologies, said the launch of the ICT Policy will precede of the Digital Transformation Strategy Workshop where participants will discuss how the Cook Islands can successfully implement a strategy for digital transformation that will create important improvements to digital processes within and beyond the public sector. 

This workshop will include some of the country’s local digital talent as well as partners across the private sector and civil society.

“The National Policy will be introduced by the Director of the ICT Unit, Pua Hunter, who has had oversight of its long months of development. The policy document highlights the positive impacts that the strategic objectives hope to achieve for future digital natives of the Cook Islands,” Hilyard said.

“The ICT policy thus forms the basis of two further documents that will also be briefly introduced during this introductory session while the Prime Minister is in attendance.”

One of these documents is an eCommerce Readiness Workplan, which contains the findings of research into the areas that are necessary to successfully facilitate eCommerce between the Cook Islands and overseas traders.

Sally Wyatt, chief economist of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM), will briefly introduce the key phases of the workplan and how it reflects the goals and objectives of the ICT Policy.

The third presentation will be the Digital Readiness Assessment (DRA), which was introduced during the first Digital Transformation Workshop and the Digital Readiness Assessment Survey that was undertaken during and following that workshop in February this year.

“The DRA provided some quick insights into priority digital challenges and opportunities. This section will be concluded with an overview of the Digital Transformation Strategy document which will form the basis of the rest of the workshop’s programme.”

The Digital Readiness Assessment will be presented by Calum Handforth, UNDP Digital Programmes Strategic Manager, who coordinated the first workshop remotely from Singapore.

He will be attending this workshop in person, as he arrives as part of a UN delegation to oversee other UN projects currently being undertaken by the Cook Islands.