Join the ‘Pacific Connect’ debate on digital development

| December 21, 2017

Affordable, high-speed internet access is coming or is already available to a number of Pacific nations due to the implementation of major submarine cable projects. This level of connectivity presents a raft of opportunities for enhanced governance, service delivery and economic development in the Pacific region.

So, what comes next in terms of applying practical ideas and solutions to capitalise on this exciting development?

Earlier this year the Australian government announced ‘Pacific Connect’, a pilot project to be implemented by the newly established independent, non-profit, non-political International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP).

Pacific Connect aims to forge stronger strategic level relationships between Pacific and Australian current and emerging leaders with the theme of ‘Australia-Pacific Connections for the Digital Future’.

ICDP uses ‘track two diplomacy’ to encourage unofficial dialogue and problem-solving activities aimed at building relationships and encouraging new thinking that can inform the official process. Since it is unofficial – influential government, academic, business, religious and NGO leaders and other civil society actors can interact more freely.

To identify tangible and practical issues for individuals to focus on, ICDP will work with relevant Pacific stakeholders to convene several ‘track two’ dialogues.

Pacific Connect benefits from the flexibility to cover and integrate business, government, academic and community sectors. To get the ball rolling, ICDP’s plans to conduct its first business network dialogue focusing on bringing world leading digital capability to the region. This could potentially involve using blockchain and other emerging technologies to enhance government capability, support Pacific entrepreneurs and modernise local business practices.

ICDP is now seeking Australian based nominations for up to 6 emerging business and government leaders to form part of a 6×6 dialogue, initially with colleagues in PNG to develop, recommend and potentially implement projects to enhance the ability of Pacific nations to operate in a digital world.

Given the excitement around impending blockchain and hashtag graph technology, this topic is likely to form the core of these initiatives and also presents a great opportunity to help individuals broaden business networks for future interactions

This is just the beginning for Pacific Connect, which will be running several multi-sector dialogues on a variety of digitally-themed activities in 2018. If you are interested in applying to participate or in learning more about this exciting project, click here for more information.



  1. Avatar

    Jim Tora

    January 8, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Affordability of the internet may be available to some urban communities however it is still expensive and inaccessible to many. This may be due to the monopolistic market in each country We are now seeing that the ATH Group has bought or in the process of buying out telco and ICT service providers in a strategic move for the Pacific.

    New and old players in the Pacific are also providing other forms of resilient technology to improve in these areas. Satellite service providers such as O3B and Kacific are currently providing this with a new satellite to be launched in 2019 for Kacific. Digicel has been around for sometime and the purchase of a TV station in Fiji is potential to move into and introduce Digital signals (IP video) to our homes. yup you heard that right we’re still on Analog signals!! While still early stages for this as a pilot in Fiji there is opportunity to deploy this across the Pacific.

    We need solutions for economic growth where investors are able to set up their business online with a single click. The World Bank Doing Business report for each country highlights areas where countries need to focus on with the assistance of technology. While some have implemented some form of single sign-on there is still more paperwork in the background and no systems interconnectivity between agencies. I feel a solution for that would alleviate a lot of the issues being faced and at the same time create shared repositories for in country agencies to access. Similarly there is a alot of duplication of documents and contributes to additional processes across govt agencies.

    I think that this is an interesting approach and a good initiative nevertheless for the Pacific. I look forward to seeing progress on this.

    • Avatar

      Tina Briggs

      February 13, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks Jim for providing a view of ‘life on the ground’ in the Pacific in terms of ICT services and planned improvements. Imminent connectivity expansion in the Pacific has created a priority focus for Pacific leaders and presents significant opportunities for policy discussion and planning for the impact of better IT connectivity on government, business, community, academia and individuals.
      Certainly, there is much potential and opportunity in the digital space for Pacific-based businesses to grow and entrepreneurs to flourish supported by an affordable, accessible and efficient online presence. Furthermore, the digitisation of records to reduce duplication and ‘paperwork’ and provide for shared information across public sector agencies is another area that is being explored by International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP) through the Pacific Connect agenda. The recent news about the usage of blockchain technologies in the Pacific Islands’ tuna industry is very encouraging.
      Whilst the theme of ‘Australia-Pacific Connections for the Digital Future’ is broad, we are relying on enthusiastic and engaged individuals (like Jim) and organisations in the Pacific to highlight the issues that can help inform Pacific Connect’s agenda moving forward. If we can put the ‘right’ people in the room from the Pacific and Australia to connect and work on mutually beneficial issues, resulting in stronger existing and new networks and partnerships – then the sky really is the limit. Pacific Connect represents a great opportunity for individuals from the Pacific and Australia to contribute to and participate in some exciting activities. Contact ICDP – if you wish to know more.