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By Moffat Mamu

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 15) - Information Communication Technology (ICT) is a catalyst for development. Chairman of the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC) Rajnesh Singh made the remarks at the opening of the 6th Edition of PacINET 2007 yesterday.

"In today’s global economy you cannot exist and function without technology. Embracing and more importantly, implementing a progressive ICT strategy ensures you don’t get left behind, and are relegated to forever playing catch up with your neighbors and peers. ICT is without doubt a catalyst for development and at the PacINET we will visit this issue."

He pointed out that globally ICT industry is a profitable business sector adding that ICT has an impact on economic growth and how it contributes to long-term economic development and growth.

"For the region the issue of distance is an ever-present issue and with the use of innovative ICT solutions, it is possible to go some way in solving this," Mr. Singh said.

"Apart from social needs ICTs contribute to a better and progressive education system, health, information dissemination, trade and commerce, security and in increasing the efficiency of various government functions.

The conference goes into its second day today.

Themes and topics covered at PacINET 2007 will include e-Health Initiatives in the Pacific, Building Connected Communities, An Open Source World, e-Government and the Pacific, Internet: Safety and Security, ICT in Education, the VoIP (R) Evolution, IPv6, Women in Technology and New Media.

Guest speakers at PacINET 2007 include John Crain, ICANN CTO and Dr Jimmie Rogers, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). Dr Vinton G. Cerf, considered one of the fathers of the Internet and Vice President at Google, has also prepared a keynote message to participants via video.

The main conference is split in two streams - policy and technical - where workshops will be conducted providing training to participants.

Some 30 participants at PacINET 2007 were sponsored to the meeting by Pacific Internet Partners (PIP), Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

PICISOC is an active chapter of ISOC, covering 22 Pacific island states and territories with a membership of close to 500 individuals across the region. ISOC is a professional membership organization with around 100 organizational and over 26,000 individual members in more than 180 countries.

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