PITA Business Expo Redefines Digitalisation, Enterprise Networking in PNG

By: Paul Oeka June 10, 2023


The Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association 27th Annual General Meeting (PITA AGM), Business Forum and Expo, which was hosted on the 29th of May to the 2nd of June 2023, marked a significant milestone in Papua New Guinea’s journey towards digital transformation.

It was the first to be hosted in Papua New Guinea by the country's longest serving telecommunications provider, Telikom Limited.

PITA was formed to represent the interests of the small island states and countries in the Pacific in the field of telecommunications, with the focus to improve, promote, enhance, facilitate, and provide telecommunications services within Member and Associate Member countries.

The event kicked off on May 29 in PNG's capital and was hosted at the Hilton Hotel with the theme "Reimagining Service Excellence, Ubiquity and Resilience in a Post-Covid Pasifika."

The four-day expo focused on showcasing and discussing technologies related to consumer technology and sustainability. The event also featured a platform for emerging players in the industry to showcase their innovations.

The PITA 27 AGM Business Forum and Expo 2023 opening ceremony saw Acting Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea John Rosso and government officials, executives, and leaders from technology and finance industries gathering in Port Moresby, where they discussed the role of technology to empower various industries in the future.

Some key takeaways from event speakers

Hon. John Rosso -- According to Acting Prime Minister, the forum promoted collaborations and will drive development in the Pacific Region. Rosso underscored the significance of prioritizing cybersecurity and addressing regional competencies in managing, safeguarding, and protecting valuable information and communications (ICT) systems and infrastructures.

Mr Rosso also emphasized the need to examine the way people utilize social media, stressing the importance of holding individuals accountable for their statements.

"Our people must be shielded from those who propagate falsehoods and misinformation, and individuals spreading such information should be held accountable," Rosso said.

William Duma, PNG's Minister for State Enterprise -- In his opening address, Mr Duma highlighted that it was an honour for PNG to host the 27th PITA meeting for the very first time, because communications between people has always been important and in today’s technological era, telecommunications is vital and significant for governments, businesses and our respective populations.

"We have a large population but it is spread across a huge landmass and islands, and many of our telecoms issues and challenges are similar to those experienced by other Pacific nations. So, innovations and discussions within the event is crucial in overcoming these obstacles, "

"The government appreciates the ongoing support and partnerships with our various bilateral counterparts and stakeholders in improving the telecommunications sector for the livelihoods of the people of Papua New Guinea," Duma said.

Timothy Masiu, PNG's Minister for ICT -- During his address, Minister Masiu emphasized the importance of the event in driving digital progress in the nation.

He signified the remarkable strides Papua New Guinea has made in the process of digital transformation and stressed the need to seize the opportunities presented by the digital age to propel economic development and social progress in the region.

"PNG has emerged as a leader in digital advancement through the implementation of pivotal policies and initiatives. The PNG Digital Transformation Policy 2020, the Digital Government Act 2022, and the establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre have laid a solid foundation for the country to position itself as a digital hub in the Pacific," he said.

"The world is changing rapidly, and technology is reshaping the way we live, work, and connect with one another," Minister Masiu stated. "Papua New Guinea, with its unique cultural heritage and vibrant economy, is well-positioned to leverage these advancements and become a digital hub in the Pacific region."

Looking towards the future, Mr Masiu said the government, through the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), aims to introduce its first-ever Digital ID Wallet within the next three months.

Built on a Federated Secure Data Exchange Platform, the Digital ID Wallet is expected to enhance citizen services and drive the digital transformation agenda across both public and private sectors.

Mr David Kapi, Manager for Strategic Planning, DICT -- In his speech, Mr. Kapi emphasized DICT's unwavering dedication to fostering collaboration and bolstering the sector through the implementation of progressive policy initiatives.

The department is eager to work alongside diverse stakeholders, seeking to propel the country forward as a united force, he added.

Mr. Kapi expressed genuine enthusiasm for events like the PITA Conference and Business Expo, recognizing their pivotal role in enhancing Papua New Guinea's telecommunications and ICT landscape. The DICT's active involvement in such gatherings reflects their commitment to driving continuous improvement in these critical areas.

Expo Outcomes

DICT, PNG DataCo Sign MOU to Improve Government's Digital Transformation: The PNG DICT officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the PNG DataCo in a significant move towards digital advancement.

The agreement aims to solidify their partnership to drive the much-anticipated digital government transformation, utilizing their individual mandates and expertise.

This collaboration will focus on several key areas of cooperation, including wholesale connectivity, the establishment of a Government Private Network, integration of Government Technology Stack Components, and bolstering cybersecurity measures.

By joining forces, DICT and DataCo aim to accelerate the modernization of government services and operations, ushering in a new era of efficiency and accessibility and signaling a significant step forward in PNG’s digital transformation journey.

PITA Vice President Impressed with Host: Philip Henderson, Vice President of PITA, was quite impressed with host Telikom Limited for how it had organized the AGM, Business Forum and Expo.

He said more than 350 participants had registered to attend this forum from 30 countries around the Pacific region and Australia. Henderson also mentioned that more than 100 participants had joined virtually each day from the commencement of the conference right through till the end.

More than 100 different companies participated in the four-day conference, with booths set up showcasing their products and services. Henderson added that the event was the biggest conference to be hosted by PNG after 27 years.

Views from Pacific Island participants: Many representatives from different Pacific Island nations also highlighted during discussions that Papua New Guinea was different from the rest of the Pacific, was advanced in infrastructure, telecommunications, and employment, and was a progressive Pacific country in terms of development and attracting investors to its shores and markets.

The PITA Annual General Meeting and Business Forum Expo serves as a platform for them to engage in knowledge exchange, networking, and the establishment of strategic alliances.

Through these collaborations, the challenges they face can be collectively addressed, opportunities seized, and a path toward a digitally empowered future can be charted.

The inspiring event dived into the future of telecommunications, focusing on cybersecurity, networking, and more captivating sessions on empowering businesses in the telecom space to conquer challenges through sustainable outcomes.

Progress to Digital Resilience

The event hosted by Telikom Limited closed as a resounding success, bringing together key stakeholders in the ICT sector and propelling PNG and the wider Pacific region towards a future of limitless possibilities.

The Expo created a platform for exhibitors and participants to showcase, promote and sell their products/services, access new markets, learn new technologies, network, make new business contacts, and establish international partnerships.

The event showcased over 350 delegates from 35 countries with the gathering of distinguished guests, local and foreign telecom operators, ICT vendors, and esteemed members of the public and private sectors.



1) PITA 27th AGM & Business Forum Expo 2023, Hilton Hotel, Port Moresby (Day 2&3/June 31st-June 1st 2023) [Paul Oeka/PNG Business News]

2) Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association. https://www.pita.org.fj › Events.

3) NICTA. National ICT Authority. https://www.nicta.gov.pg

4) Department of Information and Communications Technology. DICT I PNG. ict.gov.pg. https://www.ict.gov.pg

5) Telikom Ltd. telikom.com.pg  https://www.telikom.com.pg

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