30 September 2010 The Government of Tonga fully appreciates the vital role of ICT in terms of the Kingdom's national development goals which includes creating a better governance environment, improving education standards and promoting sustainable private-sector led growth.
Such goals require ICT as a key enabler, and the Ministry of Information and Communications ‘s policy intent vision is to "maximise the power and versatility of global connectivity to create a knowledge-based society; increasing innovation, accelerating development of our nation and improving the quality of life of all Tongans", as summarized in the National ICT Plan.
Tonga's good relations with Japan's ODA main implementing agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is one example of the Government's active cooperation and coordinated efforts with its donors, in enhancing collaboration and coordination of ICT development at the local, regional and international level.
Over the years, JICA has offered many special seminars and training courses held in Japan, for developing information and communications infrastructure, promoting ICT applications and other specialized trainings specific to the needs raised by each department. In addition to training programs for working level ICT professionals, JICA also implements small and specific projects to assist in the planning of ICTs and building network infrastructures for Ministries that is constantly developing applications to better its service delivery.
In early September 2010, the JICA donated the Ministry TOP $25, 971.06 to assist with the development of its internal network infrastructures. This includes the purchase of new computers equipment, Network servers, Ethernet Switches and network backup drives.
JICA ICT Consultant, Mr. Hiromichi Suzuki said that, "This project is aimed at enabling the technical environment within the Ministry to be on another level of enhancing capacity and network speeds, improving service quality and reliability while reducing user costs."
The new system will provide real-time access and more efficient retrieval of information and services, for the Ministry, in the form of online applications for videos, forms, Ministry's TV programs, licenses applications, archived databases and customer relations management.
This project is one of JICA's development assistance programmes spanning over a two-year period with the Ministry, and it is hoped that this new project will provide an inspiration to other Ministries with similar LAN requirements encouraging ICT development within their respective departments.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2010.