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Kingdom of Tonga making great strides in ICT development for citizens—CTO

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The Secretary-General of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Mr. Shola Taylor has hosted a delegation from the Kingdom of Tonga, on the headquarters of the CTO in London on the occasion of Tonga joining the CTO.

The delegation was headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Siaosi Sovaleni, who doubles as the Minister for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications.

Taylor said during the meeting that “The Kingdom of Tonga is making great strides in ICT development for its citizens,” stressing that “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.”

In his remarks, Sovaleni said “We are very happy to take part in the CTO’s initiatives as a Full Member Country,” and assured that “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.”

He averred that 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 Development 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.

Currently, the CTO is the oldest and largest Commonwealth intergovernmental organisation in the field of information and communication technologies. With a diverse membership spanning developed and least developed countries, small island developing states, and more recently also the private sector and civil society, the CTO aims to become a trusted partner for sustainable development for all through ICTs


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