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Abstract

The current global economic instability and the vulnerability of small island nations are providing the impetus for greater integration between the countries of the South Pacific region. This exercise is critical for their survival in today’s turbulent economic environment. Past efforts of regional integration in the South Pacific have not been very successful. Reasons attributed to this outcome include issues related to damage of sovereignty, and lack of a shared integration infrastructure. Today, the IT resources with collaborative capacities provide the opportunity to develop a shared IT infrastructure to facilitate integration in the South Pacific. In an attempt to develop a model of regional integration with an IT-backed infrastructure, we identify and report on the antecedents of the current stage of regional integration, and the stakeholders’ perceived benefits of an IT resources backed regional integration in the South Pacific. Employing a case study based approach, the study finds that while most stakeholders were positive about the potential of IT-backed regional integration, significant challenges exist that hinder the realisation of this model. The study finds that facilitating IT-backed regional integration requires enabling IT infrastructure, equitable IT development in the region, greater awareness on the potential of the modern IT resources, market liberalisation of the information and telecommunications sector and greater political support for IT initiatives.

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