Cook Islands’ digital journey boosted with launch of first National Digital Strategy

February 21, 2024

Launching the Cook Islands National Digital Strategy 2024-2030. From left to right: Pua Hunter, ICT Director – Cook Islands Government; Aliona Niculita – Resident Representative, UNDP; Maureen Hilyard, Project Coordinator; and Taupa’ū Joseph Mulipola, Officer in Charge, Governance Unit, UNDP

Photo: UNDP

Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS – The Cook Islands celebrated a key milestone in its digital transformation journey with the launch earlier this month of its first ever National Digital Strategy for 2024 to 2030.

The formulation of the Strategy was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Government of Cook Islands, under the project: Utilizing digitalization to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Cook Islands.

The Strategy was developed and informed by a comprehensive functional analysis provided by the Digital Readiness Assessment conducted for Cook Islands in 2023, that identified strategic entry points, bottlenecks, and gaps.

The Strategy outlines ways in which digitalization can act as a key enabler to building resilience in the economy, creating jobs, supporting the innovation ecosystem, and delivering better public services for Cook Islands. 

“The six strategic priorities of the Cook Islands’ National Digital Strategy: infrastructure, capacity building, enabling environment, talent development, innovation and digital private sector, fully align with, and therefore support, the goals and outcomes of the region’s 2050 Strategy for digital economy, digital literacy, digital skills and capability, as well as inclusive and sustainable digital technologies,” said Hon. Tingika Elikana, Associate Minister for ICT.

The Strategy builds on existing infrastructure, such as the connection to the Manatua Cable System, which is expected to significantly increase the ways and extent Cook Islanders use digital technologies, the success of programmes such as the SMART Economy Initiative, and the shaping of a National ICT Policy, which provides the technical direction and strategic leadership needed to translate the National Digital Strategy into practice.

“The Government of Cook Islands’ ongoing commitment to its digital transformation agenda is to be commended, as it continues to make considerable efforts to prioritise digital transformation as a key catalyst for the acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goals, and recovery from ongoing health crises, climate change, and other pressing challenges,” said Aliona Niculita, UNDP Resident Representative.

The Strategy considers the need to close the digital divide between the islands and communities, including the gender digital divide between women and men, girls and boys, and meeting the needs of the elderly population, as well as ensuring that everyone is able to benefit from the potential that digital offers.  

Close to 80% of Cook Islanders were using the internet daily in 2021, whilst the percentage of Pa Enua (outlying islands) residents using the internet has nearly doubled in five years. Almost half of Cook Islands’ firms buy or sell online, whilst social media and other usage continues to grow.

Drawing on consultation, discussion, and collaboration with digital leaders and advocates across its islands, the Government of the Cook Islands has crafted a vision for digital – to be achieved through a whole-of-society collaboration and effort. 

By 2030, they want to have shaped a digitally empowered and inclusive Cook Islands where technology enhances all lives, fosters innovation, drives economic growth and prosperity, improves social services, and protects its unique culture and environment, whilst building a shared identity for their island home.

This vision focuses on providing all Cook Islanders with the skills, capacities, tools and opportunities to thrive in the digital economy, and its emerging digital society.


For more information, please contact: 
Ms. Laufālē’ainā Lesā, Communications Analyst, UNDP Multi Country Office, Samoa | Tel. +685 23670 | E: |