UK – Gisa Fuatai Purcell, a national of Samoa has been appointed as Director of ICT Development Department of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The Director of ICT Development, who reports to the Secretary-General is responsible for overall strategic direction of the operational divisions of Capacity Development, Events and Technical Support and Consultancy.
“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Purcell. In addition to her impressive personal qualities, Gisa brings to the job a wealth of relevant experience in the ICT development sector spanning about 25 years, as well as excellent experience in dealing with decision makers at the highest level. I look forward to working closely with her,” said Shola Taylor, Secretary-General, while making the announcement following a merit based internationally advertised recruitment process.
Gisa is the first woman to have been appointed to this top role at the CTO. She has served as the regional advisor to CTO for the South Pacific since July 2016 and before then as the Head of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Division on ICT development in least developed countries, small island development states, and landlocked developed countries with responsibilities for climate change adaption and disaster risk reduction and emergency telecommunication. She successfully managed many projects around the world including early warning systems using different types of technologies and supporting the development of enabling policies and regulations.
At the national level, Gisa was recruited by the Prime Minister of Samoa while she worked in New Zealand (2003) to help develop Samoa’s first national ICT policy in which the priority project was liberalizing the mobile market. Her work resulted in Samoa being the first Pacific Island country to have launched and implemented a national ICT policy (2005) and the first Pacific Island country to have liberalized its mobile market (2006) promoting sale of mobile phones and competition among mobile companies that brought down the cost of phone calls per minute. Through the ITU project, Gisa was instrumental in enabling the Government of Samoa to tackle cybercrime in the revised Crimes Act 2013.
Honourable Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, Minister of Communications and Information and Technology of Samoa stated, “I am proud of Samoa having one of her daughters continue raising Samoa’s flag in telecommunication and ICT development at the international level. Gisa has been instrumental to the development of ICT in Samoa, within the Pacific and at the global level through her work with the ITU. Well done Gisa, I am very proud of you” Gisa has a Master of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
“I am very humbled with this appointment and I thank the CTO management and Executive Committee for their confidence in me” says Mrs Purcell, adding, “I will take on this job with humility, honesty and praise God for his blessings and guidance. I thank my husband Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell for his unwavering support, and my children for reminding me I am a woman, a mother and grandmother contributing towards the betterment of mankind”