Polynesia adopts the digital world

Is it ready? How is it preparing for it? What will the consequences of this entry into the digital world be on an economic level? Such questions were raised this morning during the 1st forum which opened FIFO’s 2nd Digital Encounters. Adolphe Colrat, High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia, Michel Paoletti, Economic and Social Counsellor of French Polynesia and Chairman of FIFO Digital Encounters, Teva Rohfritsch, Minister responsible for the digital economy and the  development of green technology, François Voirin, Chairman of the CA of OPT, Alain Veyret, Director of the Information Technology and Territories Department IDATE, and Marcel Desvergne, Chairman of Aquitaine Europe Communication and leader of this first forum were gathered together to talk about it. Everyone had an opportunity to explain their points of view and to envisage the consequences – at times unsuspected and yet fundamental – that such a ‘revolution’ can generate. The public was able to put their questions forward during the last half-an-hour.

If the reflection at the origin of these Digital Encounters was concerned more with the content, the question of the ‘packaging’ itself was quickly asked. Digital will certainly abolish distances but will also and in particular allow a huge amount of information to be introduced.

Marcel Desvergne opened the debate by showing a film produced in the United States which recalled some essential data about the scale that digital phenomena has reached in just a handful of years, recalling for example that Barack Obama had no fund-raising campaign but succeeded in accumulating 55 million dollars via social web networks in some 29 days. “What was held in a building is now held in your pocket,” is heckled, “and what is held in your pocket will later be held in a cell.” Revealing images of the inevitable changes inferred by that the start of the digital era that Marcel Desvergne summarizes with these words, “I believe that we should acknowledge that we are part of a digital civilization.”

The High-Commissioner for his part warned about the confusion that there may be between the world and the resource: “The world – the worlds are not and will never be digital,” he declared. “They will never be binary. It is the tool which is and what makes it efficient. The worlds themselves are subtle, sensitive, iridescent, diverse and contradictory, it is our human reality.”

And Teva Rohfritsch has the difficult task of defining in what way the Polynesia community could then be situated in these ‘non- digital worlds.’ The Minister in turn, insisted on the fact that it was henceforth necessary to look into what was going to be built ‘at the end of the cable.’ “We were dedicated backbenchers,” he declared, “abandoning self-satisfaction for the nostalgic of rearview policy. With cable, we are on the eve of a profound transformation. (…) We should envisage this sector like a pillar of our future economic growth, a creator of jobs.” Like Alain Veyret afterwards, the Minister pointed out the necessity to promote the start of competition and new players in the market. “The country is enrolling in the volition to make the markets more liberal. The competition has been launched and will be encouraged, I repeat it today. […] At a time when all willpower is looking for a new breath of life for our post-nuclear economy, we have a chance there to seize, to regain the way for economic development, growth and jobs. In a word, don’t let it pass us by,” he suggested, before proposing to make these meetings the first fruits of the digital Etats Généraux, to prepare for the arrival of ‘Teara Hotu, the development highway.’

Manon Hericher