Your Excellency Mr Chairman,
Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union;
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, the ICT Industry, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good morning and Talofa lava from Beautiful Samoa! I bring you warm greetings from the Government and the people of the Independent State of Samoa.

It is indeed an honour and privilege for me as the Minister of ICT and Digital Transformation of the Government of the Independent State of Samoa, to attend my first ITU

Plenipotentiary Conference, in this fast developing and exciting city of Dubai. I wish to thank the Government and people of UAE through your Excellency Mr Chairman, for the warm welcome and the wonderful hospitality we had received since our arrival. 

Being a Minister from a Small Island Developing State in this fast changing sector and transforming economies through ICT innovations and digital applications, I find these big conferences very interesting and encouraging, especially we small island nations. We for sure would like to swim together with the others, sharing ideas and experiences, thus the importance of our attendance in these major events.

International connectivity is key to Digital transformation of our economies 

Samoa officially launched its new Tui Samoa Submarine Cable early this year, and now enjoys unlimited capacity and fast speed internet. Business is booming with the demand and usage far exceeding expectations and forecasts. 

This has been a great PPP model for improving our internet connectivity with the outside world. Our new cable project has also benefitted some neighbouring countries who expressed interests to be connected to us and have come on board to share costs with us. 

In June this year, we held the Inaugural Digital Pacific 2018 Summit in Apia Samoa. This was co-organized by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the United Nations system. We were joined by delegates from the Pacific Islands nations as well as digital transformation experts and private sector from around the world.

Given the advancing stage of connectivity in the Pacific, an intergovernmental approach to closing the digital divide, introducing national IDs and establishing e-Governance systems would significantly enhance opportunities for employment, business and improved living standards through better access to services at an accelerated pace. Taking a joint regional approach on these issues will help us harmonize our systems and significantly minimize costs. Samoa has started its Digital Transformation journey and is ready to share its lessons. 

Before I conclude, I must thank the ITU Secretary General, the executive and staff, for the great effort and work you are doing in assisting the developing countries, especially the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. I thank ITU and other development partners for helping us with Cyber Security and establishing our national CERT.

I also pledge the ITU membership to seriously reconsider the grouping of SIDS and LDCs, so that SIDS also get access to fellowships to help with capacity building.

Mr. Chairman, We must explore some of the key policy and regulatory issues in ICT today and to foster the collaboration and cooperation that will help us to move ahead together. Governments should encourage partnerships and investments in local markets, and at the same time offer incentives to attract investors to contribute in the development of ICTs and the digital economy. 

I wish you a very successful conference. Thank you

God Bless!