The Minister for Communication and Aviation (MCA) Hon. Peter Shanel Agovaka and the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration (MCILI) Hon. Fredrick Kologeto together launched the National E-commerce Strategy (NECS) 2022-2027 on Friday.
E-commerce is a method of buying and selling goods and services online through channels such as self created websites, well established selling website like Amazon, or even social media to drive online sales.
In his keynote address during the event, Agovaka said that through the NECS, online markets can play a key role in the country’s economic growth and sustainable development.
“A whole-of-government approach will be needed to build a digital economy that works for all Solomon Islanders, including our youths, women and those living in rural areas,” he said.
“Digital connectivity is key to unlocking the potential of e-commerce and digital trade. Early last year online tools allowed the government services and business activity to continue despite Covid-19 restrictions,” Agovaka said.
“Virtual meetings and new ways of meeting rely on core digital technologies that will play an important role as online commerce emerges in Solomon Islands”, he added.
Agovaka also highlighted the MCA’s main objectives include facilitating and providing policy environment the promote access and connectivity.
“We work with partners to continue to implement projects that will improve and drive digital connectivity across the country. We are rolling out pilot telecentres that will provide internet access and computer labs to community members, along with a place to hold meetings and discuss new ideas. In the future, these telecentres could also be used as e-commerce hubs”, he added.
With several government services already moving online and a number of business establishments already harnessing e-commerce as part of their business operations, the country is now welcoming this digital transformation.
Also speaking during the event, Kologeto said although the country is now entering the early stages of e-commerce and digital trade, his team plans on ensuring that it brings benefits to all Solomon Islanders.
“With our people spread across many islands, we see an emerging potential with e-commerce to support the growth of micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSME),” he said.
Kologeto also pointed that through digital payments and e-commerce, a small business in Temotu Province will be able to sell its products to consumers in Honiara, the Pacific region and eventually internationally.
“It allows MSMEs to access new markets, it brings rural and urban markets closer together, it reduces business transaction costs and also makes it easier to start and operate any businesses”.
“It encourages financial inclusions and strengthens the competency of our exports”, he added.
Minister Kologeto also stated that e-commerce also has the potential to provide economic opportunities to youths, women and those residing in rural areas.
The National E-commerce Strategy is a practical roadmap for improving the business, policy and regulatory environment for the development of e-commerce and the broader digital economy in Solomon Islands, and it will allow small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to access new markets regionally and internationally with much ease.
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