African nations recommit to bridging digital divide

Kagame expected to deliver keynote address GENEVA — Countries from across the African continent will join together in national pavilions to address the overarching theme of bridging the digital divide at ITU Telecom World 2009 scheduled to take place between the 5th to the 9th of October this year. 
Former RITA Executive Director  Nkubito Bakuramutsa(L) with the Director of Administration and Finance Grace Mutsinzi  (Photo GBarya)
Former RITA Executive Director Nkubito Bakuramutsa(L) with the Director of Administration and Finance Grace Mutsinzi (Photo GBarya)

Kagame expected to deliver keynote address

GENEVA — Countries from across the African continent will join together in national pavilions to address the overarching theme of bridging the digital divide at ITU Telecom World 2009 scheduled to take place between the 5th to the 9th of October this year. 

Pavilions representing Burundi, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and the Africa Lusophone countries will unite a broad range of organizations from the non-profit, private and R&D sectors with the common goal of reasserting their commitment to ICT and digital development.

In Abuja, Nigeria, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré joined with pan-regional industry stakeholders at the African Telecom Development Summit 2009 on 10 September to discuss how to sustain the gains of telecom development in Africa over the past ten years.

“It has been an extraordinary decade for Africa,” said Dr Touré in his keynote address at the Summit. “Just ten years ago, virtually nobody in Africa had a mobile phone; today mobile cellular subscription teledensity has reached 32.6 per cent, and more than 30 million people in sub-Saharan Africa access the Internet. What is needed now is a major push forward in broadband access.”

ITU Telecom World 2009 will be a major milestone in addressing the issue of broadband access, and is seen as an important industry event for the developing world, providing an opportunity to benchmark local ICT sectors in terms of policy, regulation, and infrastructure development.

It also enables the showcasing of local ICT, and represents an invaluable opportunity to attract inward investment and seek opportunities to engage with ICT companies from the developed world.

The event will welcome some 30 Heads of State and Heads of Government, including President Al Hadji Yahya A.J.J.

Jammeh of the Republic of the Gambia, President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi, President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda, and President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania.

African top government officials attending include Prime Minister Mr Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Emile Bongeli Yeikelo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The presence of these and other world leaders at ITU Telecom World 2009 will provide a tremendous boost to ICT development, and send out the right message to industry leaders about the importance of ICT infrastructure to ongoing socio-economic development,” said Dr Touré.

Other African participants who will be present at ITU Telecom World 2009 include high-level representatives from government and industry.

Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the former deputy CEO of the Rwanda Development Board for IT, has seen strong ICT development in Rwanda, which is echoed across neighbouring African nations, and is attending ITU Telecom World 2009 with a view to harnessing this trend and further fuelling development.

“IT has been identified as a strategic industry for Rwanda’s development,” he said. “ITU Telecom World 2009 is a wide and open network that brings together all the players in the ICT sector. Attendance at this event is the best way to learn about new developments and future plans.”

Away from ITU Telecom World 2009’s exhibition floor, African nations will also be playing an important role in the event’s Forum, with top-level speakers participating from Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda, and much of the focus expected to revolve around the need for ICT infrastructure development, enlightened regulatory frameworks, and structured cybersecurity programmes.

Professor John Sydney Nkoma, Director General of the Tanzania Communications Regulator Authority (TCRA), said, “Driving towards success, Tanzania has created an environment that is very attractive to investors – built upon innovative policies, and a strong legal and regulatory framework. Now that this framework is in place, we are better equipped to face further challenges and opportunities that will come with the growth of new technologies beyond voice and SMS.

TCRA is well placed to address future regulatory challenges and looks forward to discussing these at ITU Telecom World 2009.”

Forum participants from Africa will also be addressing more intangible issues such as digital inclusion and accessibility. Forum sessions featuring speakers from African pavilion states include:

Open Summit: ICTs for economic growth – HE Mr Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Egypt.

CEO Roundtable: Globalization and localization – Mr Naguib Sawiris, Chairman & CEO, Orascom Telecom Holding, Egypt.
Regulatory Roundtable: Regulating in times of crisis – Dr Amr Badawi, Executive President, National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), Egypt.

Broadband for all – Mr Patrick Masambu, Executive Director, Uganda Communications Commission, Uganda.

Connected health: innovative business models and clinical practice – Mr Lawrence Mulinda, Senior Systems Analyst, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Uganda.

Rethinking regulation in emerging markets – Mr Mahmoud El-Gowini, Senior Advisor to the Minister for Communications Policies, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Egypt; Professor John Sydney Nkoma, Director General, Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).

Regulatory Roundtable: Setting a new agenda – Ms Alice Wanjira Munyua, Director, Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

Interconnected and vulnerable: the weakest link in cybersecurity – Mr Basil Udotai, Managing Partner, Technology Advisers, ICT Lawyers & Consultants, Nigeria.

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Source
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Posted in AFRICA / AFRIQUE, MAV Media Advisory/Invitation/Agenda, TLS Telecommunications

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