INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
The ICT industry experienced extraordinary growth in Vanuatu since 2007 as a result of series of bold initiatives including liberalization of the ICT sector, development of a robust regulatory framework, establishment of a Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator (TRR), creation of a government department in charge of the ICT agenda, and national investment in key ICT infrastructures. As a result of these initiatives the number of subscribers to ICT services, as well as the sector’s GDP, experienced a dramatic growth. Infrastructural constraints still exist in the sector which are planned to be addressed by the establishment of two additional underwater fiber optic cables linking Vanuatu with Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia. Establishing a regulatory environment aimed at the electronic delivery of traditional government services appears to be an option that can now provide significant efficiency gains.
The ICT industry is amongst the 3 others namely transport, Retail Trade and Accommodation and Food Services maintained excellent performance during the last decade. As result the services sector have continued to dominate in total outputs to the national economy. Services sector share of GDP is around 69% and provide decent employment opportunities to between 29% and 45% of the local population.
Over the past decade, Vanuatu has experienced a drastic growth of its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector resulting in wider accessibility to communication devices and services.
ICT is seen as a driving force and enabler that will assist Vanuatu in delivering quality government services, increase efficiency of current businesses, and open up new business opportunities.
Since 2007-08 the government has taken bold steps for the promotion of ICT in Vanuatu including:
- liberalization of the ICT sector;
- development of appropriate policies, establishment of a Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator (TRR), a robust policy and regulatory framework;
- creation of a government department in charge of the ICT agenda (Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, OGCIO); and
- national investment in key ICT infrastructure – an e-government broadband network, and a fiber-optic submarine cable.
These developments decisively contributed to increase adoption and coverage of ICT, as well as the contribution of this sector to Vanuatu’s GDP.
Vanuatu’s TRR provides information on the number of subscribers for mobile retail, fixed retail, and internet retail services.
The provision of ICT infrastructure is proceeding well thanks to private investments in telecommunication towers, buildings, networks and the new fiber optic submarine cable which reached Vanuatu in November 2013, with operations starting in January 2014. On the government side, the significant investment in the e-government network has brought fast internet connectivity to all civil servants and created the pre-conditions for a marked increase in productivity.
Interchange Ltd, the consortium managing the cable, anticipates that this infrastructure will also leverage the favorable tax environment to enable the creation of new services such as data storage or back-up, and transactions processing.
Interchange Ltd is planning the development of two additional cables linking Vanuatu with Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands and New Caledonia, with spurs in Espiritu Santo and Tanna. These developments would be beneficial in bringing fast internet speed to the second and third tourism destinations of Espiritu Santo and Tanna and to the island producing most of Vanuatu’s agricultural output – Espiritu Santo.
Given the country's improved ICT's framework and the potential it has to be the region's ICT hub, investment opportunities in this industry would see the development of:
- Data/call centers
- Research and Development
- and other related support services.