The advancements in ICT and telecommunications have significantly contributed towards globalisation interconnectedness. We have moved into a world where those devising new transformative ideas and technologies provide evolving approaches to our political, economic and social structures. Fred Samuel has played an instrumental role in Vanuatu’s digital development, providing his expertise throughout some pivotal transitions including Vanuatu’s first e-commerce strategy and overseeing the submarine cable program review for World Bank.
Fred Samuel is an Australia Awards alumnus who graduated with a Diploma of Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Queensland TAFE in 1997. He is the founder and director of Pacific Group; a consultancy company for design, implementation and ICT infrastructure management. Upon returning to Vanuatu Fred was highly sought after due to his level of qualifications at a time when the internet had only been implemented within the country for a couple of years.
“I began working as a telecommunications engineer at a very exciting time when there were only about 20 customers using internet services” stated Fred. With only a small pool of tertiary qualified engineers Fred was quickly recognised as a key player in an emerging industry.
Pacific Group has spearheaded some influential changes for technology within the nation, including the submarine cable program review during the transition from satellite to Vanuatu’s first international submarine cable system. This has brought enormous benefits – with wholesale prices reducing significantly and capacity usage increasing by over 25 times.
Fred’s role in devising Vanuatu’s first e-commerce strategy, launched in May 2022, sees e-commerce becoming an integral part of life as it replaces the traditional ways of doing business. The strategy aims to seize the development opportunities e-commerce can provide, leveraging resources to accelerate its adoption.
With an impressive skill set overseeing large-scale projects, Pacific Group is also the biggest events coordinator in the country. Event coordination has included the global symposium for world telecom regulators, Yumi 40 celebrations and being the founder of the annually held National ICT Day.
Fred commends Australia Awards Scholarships for catapulting his career and encourages others to apply, stating “I really encourage people to apply for these scholarships with a clear vision of their end career goals and what they hope to achieve towards the future development of Vanuatu. Embrace the experience; network with your lecturers and people working in your chosen industry. It is an invaluable opportunity”.