Press Release

PNG considers plans to improve telecommunication in digital economy

12/03/2018

In a bid to improve access and participation in digital economy, Papua New Guinea as the host economy is considering plans to improve competition in the telecommunication industry to deliver lower costs and more innovative digital products.

In a bid to improve access and participation in digital economy, Papua New Guinea as the host economy is considering plans to improve competition in the telecommunication industry to deliver lower costs and more innovative digital products. The challenge for PNG is ensuring its citizens have the basic skills needed to use mobile devices that allow them access to services such as mobile banking.

Senior Officials Meeting Chair of the host economy, Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu said this in his opening remarks at the SOM Policy Dialogue on the Digital Economy "Building on the APEC internet and digital economy roadmap" today in Port Moresby. "PNG anticipates APEC will focus on how digital technology can provide inclusive outcomes in areas like skills development, health, programs for Micro and Small to Medium Enterprises and tourism.

"Digital technologies are of particular importance to developing APEC economies such as Papua New Guinea, this is because they offer the potential for rapid technological catch up in the right circumstances.

"Access to the internet through such technologies such as smart phones provide the opportunity for broader engagement in the market economy particularly by women, SMEs and businesses from remote rural areas in PNG," stated Ambassador Pomaleu. In 2014 PNG leaders formally recognised the role of the internet economy in promoting innovative development and increasing economic participation. The establishment of an adhoc steering group was set up in 2015 as a guide to discussion on issues arising from the internet economy and by 2016, senior officials endorsed the proposal for AHSDIE Chair to circulate a consultation paper on drafting a road map on APEC internet economy.

The APEC road map on internet and digital economy was built from pervious initiatives and is a framework that provides guidance on key areas and actions to facilitate technological and policy exchanges among member economies and to promote innovative, inclusive and sustainable growth as well as to bridge digital divide in the APEC region. "The key challenge that all APEC member economies now face is how to develop the policies and strategies that will allow digital economies to be harnessed.

"Some economies have had more success than others and its increasingly clear that economies have much to learn from each other. It is clear that digital technologies offer a catalyst for growth in APEC member economies and this is because the impact is being felt far more broadly than through the provision of needs products and services developed by digital firms," said Mr Pomaleu.

Throughout 2018 PNG will be looking forward to APEC work under its overall theme and in particular will look to progress three specific issues: scope and definition; PNG's future APEC work adopting a broad scope and taking forward work on trade and structural reform.

"We look forward to progressing discussions on issues based on the 2017 lead up agreement on the road map particularly in looking to ensure that an arrangement for an overall governance for this work is in place and to ensure that relevant APEC bodies have strong incentives to collaborate in future," said Mr Pomaleu.