CEO - Australian Information Industry Association, Simon Bush,
Representatives from Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, SAP, Deloitte, ANZ LF, Cyber CX, Telstra and Digicel,
Esteemed Delegate Partners and Speakers,
Panel Members,
Invited Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Bula vinaka and good morning. It is a pleasure to join you all this morning and inaugurating this important event.
On behalf of the Fiji Government and the people of Fiji, I would like to welcome you to Fiji.
At the outset, I would like to acknowledge the close collaboration and efforts of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Fiji Trade Commission Office in Australia and New Zealand, Outsource Fiji, Austrade and the Pacific Islands Forum, in organising this event.
In today's interconnected world, digital and technical capabilities are essential drivers of economic growth and social development. They provide opportunities for businesses to expand their reach, access new markets, and increase productivity. For citizens, digital technologies offer a more convenient, efficient way of accessing services and engaging with their government.
Hence, events such as this are critical for IT players in the Industry to discuss and exchange knowledge and experience on the evolving digital technologies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Fiji Government is committed to working with partners such Australia and New Zealand to build digital and technical capabilities that will support sustainable economic growth and development in Fiji. To achieve this, we are prioritising investment in digital government services, connectivity, infrastructure, and cyber security.
Making government services and information available online, makes it easier for citizens to access them and for the government to deliver services more efficiently. By investing in digital government, Fiji is working towards increasing transparency and accountability, and improving public trust in government. We have implemented several initiatives, which provides the pathway for rapid digital government implementation and is an impetus for our growing digital economy. Some of these initiatives are:
The launch the electronic profile or E-profile which is a secure single sign-in portal whereby Fijian citizens can access current and future innovative government e-services using a single set of credentials.

The development of innovative applications such as a consolidated online Government directory and national online feedback system.

The online birth registration facility whereby parents of newborns can now register their child online and citizens can request for reprints of birth certificates.

The upgrade of the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) system and having it directly linked to the hospital system to capture data, at source. This is a fundamental component to the integrity of birth data and establishes BDM as “single source of truth” for personal information.

The Registrar of Companies related services are now available online as well. Companies and Businesses can now be registered in Fiji with zero visits to the companies’ office and approved registration certificates will be sent to the applicant’s email address.

All Government e-Services can now be paid using online payment through credit or debit cards as well as Vodafone’s M-Paisa wallet.

A Data Exchange Platform which is the single source of truth for People and Entity data in Fiji. The platform facilitates secure data exchange between data source agencies and data subscribing agencies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Connectivity is a key enabler of digital government services and is essential for businesses to have access to fast and reliable internet, so they can participate in the global economy and reach new markets.
Infrastructure is also critical to the growth of our region's digital capabilities. This includes both physical and digital infrastructure, such as data centers, broadband networks and cloud computing. By investing in these, we can create an environment that is supportive of digital business and economic growth.
In terms of domestic connectivity, in Fiji, we have 95% mobile internet connectivity through 3G, 4G and 4G+ networks. We are already working hard on identifying and connecting the final 5% of our people who live in remote and maritime areas.  We also have 100% digital television coverage which has been made possible through terrestrial and satellite communications.
Regarding international connectivity, we are linked to the Southern Cross Cable fiber optic network and we have also completed the improved Southern Cross NEXT cable network which offers more speed, when required. These strategic steps have enabled for rapid digital transformation of various sectors, including government and is a catalyst for a thriving digital economy.
To sustain and further harness the benefits of our digital transformation journey, resilient cyber infrastructure is pertinent.  At this juncture, I am happy to announce the feasibility study of a second cable landing station. Once built, this will ensure not only domestic redundancy but regional redundancy in connectivity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
While these new tools and technologies have brought opportunities to leapfrog and overcome traditional challenges, understanding the fast-paced landscape, maintaining and ensuring that these tools and technologies fit our needs, has become a challenge.
Cyber security is an essential aspect of digital development. With the increasing reliance on digital technologies, it is important that we protect our digital assets and infrastructure from cyber threats. This means investing in cyber security solutions and building a culture of cyber awareness across our region.
We have a Cybercrime Act which is aligned to the Budapest Convention – the only international instrument against cybercrime and we are reviewing our national cybersecurity strategy to strengthen our national framework and further encourage investment in IT.
We also actively participating in the UN Cybercrime Ad Hoc Committee which is looking into a UN instrument for cybercrime and the UN Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Fiji is currently facing the added challenge of mass departure of IT experts causing significant “brain drain” issues. This is a matter of great concern to our nation, as the loss of highly skilled professionals in the IT sector can have serious implications for our economic growth and competitiveness. Finding solutions to retain and attract highly skilled professionals in the IT industry in Fiji is a priority. To do this, we must create an environment that supports the growth and development of the sector, and provides attractive and competitive opportunities for IT professionals.
This means investing in education and training and creating an enabling environment for businesses to grow and innovate, so that the IT industry can provide high-quality, high-paying jobs for our citizens.
The new Government will be undertaking a review of our education system and institutions. This will include assessing our capacity to train skills in IT and telecommunications.

The Fiji Government is currently negotiating the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which has Digital Economy as a vital component of the framework, creating an enabling environment for businesses to grow and innovate, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Under the IPEF Agreement, Fiji Government is keen to enhance and engage with the private sector to encourage STEM type of programmes in Fiji. Samsung is working with the Ministry of Education on this. I would like to invite more companies to collaborate with the Fiji Government.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
According to, the worldwide full-time employment in the ICT sector was 55.3 million in 2020, which was an increase of 3.9% from 2019. It is also projected to further increase in 2023 to approximately 62 million people employed in the ICT sector globally.
That is why forums such as these are critically important to ensure that the knowledge gap is bridged, digital skillsets are further developed and we strengthen the networks of current and upcoming leaders – I cannot over emphasise the importance of that.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
A Microsoft study has shown that by 2025, the global workforce is on the brink to add 149 million new technology-oriented jobs with emerging fields such as cloud and data roles, privacy and trust, software development, cybersecurity, and data analysis, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Four things come to mind, when I see these numbers –
1. growth opportunities that exist;
2. importance of continuous investment in building and maintaining such capabilities;
3. how this will be crucial to meet the demands of this evolving landscape which cuts across all sectors such as BPO, manufacturing, health, agriculture, and education, to name a few; and
4. Fiji’s important role as a genuine ITC hub of the Pacific.
It is only fitting that at the beginning of a new year, we take stock and think about what are the digital priorities of this year.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are further building on these. As we move towards a digital era, the Fiji Government, as the driver of the digital economy will continue to uplift our digital capacity. But it must be with the support of the private sector - so it is vital that we hear from you on how we can support the economy with digitalisation. It is without a doubt that many Micro, Small and Medium enterprises have adopted the use of digital technology in doing business.
The rise of the digital economy has brought about many benefits for Fiji, including increased job opportunities, improved access to goods and services, and a boost to the country's overall economic growth. This has made it possible for businesses to reach new markets, and for consumers to access a wider range of products at competitive prices.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I had mentioned earlier, at the end of the day, digital tools and technologies will need to be designed, maintained, and enhanced by individuals to align to evolving needs. We need targeted digital capabilities to ‘turbo charge’ and sustain our digital transformation journey. Our digital development investments must continue both in government and in the private sector.

In closing, I must say that this forum is a great way to collaborate, build capacity around new and emerging technologies and discuss the ICT trends. I would like to see more of this type of events organised in coming months to facilitate and engage dialogue and share knowledge on the evolving new technologies between government and private sector.
For those who are visiting Fiji for the first time, I would encourage you to enjoy the Fijian hospitality before you leave our shores.
I wish you well in your deliberations and discussions as we continue to grow our pool of digital leaders.
Vinaka and Thank you.