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Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)

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RMI has recently endorsed a national strategic plan, Vision 2018, to guide the development of the country for the next 16 years. The plan strongly emphasises the need to develop its human resource potential through improved education and specific human resource development initiatives. The report proposes to “establish a knowledge based economy by equipping Marshallese citizens with internationally competitive skills, qualities and positive attitudes to work and society.” The resulting resource development plan is broad and recognises the wide range of development required, but does not specifically detail an approach to the co-ordination of ICT and ICT programmes.

A report of the National Training Council, Labour Market Report, produced in October 2002, discusses ICT issues. It indicates that ICT skills:
"...are increasingly important in all RMI government and non-government enterprises... It is imperative that RMI increases the ICT skills of its workforce in order to communicate effectively both within RMI and to the world outside..."

The report indicated a need to produce about 50 new ICT graduates per annum for the foreseeable future. This target has not yet been met nor has the labour market expanded sufficiently to create the full demand.

Overcoming ICT Obstacles

Jorelik Tibon, Secretary for the RMI Ministry of Transportation and Communications, one of the representatives of the Marshall Islands at the Tunis round of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in November 2005, reported at the Summit that the Marshall Islands Government is seeking to create a policy environment that will bring ICT to its citizens.

Progress is already taking place. In October 2005 a new mobile network was launched in the Marshalls, providing coverage to rural areas and the outer islands. As at November 2005 service penetration levels stand at 10 per 100 of the population, this new network is expected to accelerate penetration levels.

Since 2001 the Marshalls have investigated the option of participating in a subregional initiative entitled the "Micronesian Submarine Cable Project" (MSCP). While the project has good potential the economic realities present obstacles.