Secretary-General Shola Taylor Welcomes Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni To CTO
Secretary-General Shola Taylor welcomed on Wednesday a delegation from the Kingdom of Tonga, headed by Deputy Prime Minister The Honourable Siaosi Sovaleni, to the headquarters of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) on the occasion of Tonga joining the CTO. Alongside his position as Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable Sovaleni is also Minister for for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications.
“The Kingdom of Tonga is making great strides in ICT development for its citizens,” said Mr Taylor. “From expanding broadband access, to strengthening cybersecurity, Tonga is committed to ensuring that they make the best use of ICTs in order to progress their socio-economic development. Indeed, Tonga is the first Pacific country to sign the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime, and I would like to commend them on this progress.”
“We are very happy to take part in the CTO’s initiatives as a Full Member Country,” said The Honourable Sovaleni. “We look forward to being part of Commonwealth common efforts to achieve greater impact in using ICTs in economic development and social inclusion in our respective countries.”
Communications and access to broadband and the Internet can present problems to the islands of the Pacific region, such as Tonga. Working with partners such as the Asian Devleopment Bank and the World Bank, Tonga has begun a programme to bring submarine cable connectivity to the Kingdom. Tonga is also working on extending broadband provision to its outer islands, a task that should be achieved by December 2017.
Tonga has also made great strides in the use of ICT applications, with plans to launch their e-government programme in July this year.
Membership of the CTO will assist Tonga with their ICT ambitions. A draft membership action plan was presented to the Tonga delegation, outlining specific areas where the CTO can work with Tonga on ICTs to ensure they gain the maximum benefits of CTO membership, including support for cybersecurity, broadband rollout and development of ICT applications, and access to the CTO’s knowledge sharing events and training courses.