Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is with much pleasure that I take the floor to address you once again at the close of this Connect Americas Summit 2012.
This has been an extraordinary summit, bringing together over 650 participants from 36 countries, including 7 Heads of State or Government, 16 Ministers and Vice-Ministers, 48 international and regional organizations and 158 private sector companies and other stakeholders.
Thanks to our host country who has not spared any effort to make us feel at home, this Summit has enjoyed a truly warm, positive spirit of friendship and commitment. While I know that Dr. Touré, the Secretary-General of ITU, will do it on all our behalf, I cannot continue without saying Thank you Panama.
I would also like to take this opportunity to address my own special thanks to our partners CITEL, COMTELCA and CTU for their excellent cooperation during the preparation and running of the Summit. I am equally grateful for the fantastic support that we received from the governmental agencies of Panama, in particular ASEP, whose staff, under the dynamic leadership of General Manager Zelmar Rodríguez Crespo, have worked with dedication to ensure the preparation and the smooth running of this Summit.
The leadership of the ITU’s Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré, and the support of my fellow elected officials, including our Deputy Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, has been of great help to me and to our staff, who have done a great job here.
I would also like to address my own special thanks to the panelists and moderators in our opening debate and the panel sessions, which produced such stimulating discussions and which at every stage emphasized the true power of partnership.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to very briefly recap on some of the partnerships that have been fostered by this Connect Americas Summit.
• These include:
• A partnership between the Real Madrid Foundation and the ITU that will provide boys and girls, in particular from the most disadvantaged socio-economic environments, with access to sport and ICT-supported education, as we announced in the presence of the First Lady of Panama who graced us with her presence on this occasion.
• The partnership between the ITU and the Telecentre.org Foundation, an ITU-D Sector Member, to launch a new partnership to support the social inclusion and successful integration of young people into the job market.
• An ITU and Geneva University Hospitals partnership to contribute to the deployment of a Pan-American Telemedicine Network;
• The Government of Antigua & Barbuda’s initiative to promote Technology for Early Childhood Education;
• Intel’s initiative to help another billion people get access to ICTs;
• The Inter-American development Bank’s initiative to put Broadband in the centre of the development and growth agenda;
• The initiative by the World Bank & TELCOR Nicaragua to bring telecommunications services to Nicaraguans living in rural areas;
• The initiative by the GSMA to combat mobile device theft;
• O3b Networks’ initiative to Connect the Unconnected in the Americas and the Caribbean;
• The ITU, LACNIC and LAC-IX joining efforts for the development of the internet in Latin America.
The partnerships and the business opportunities initiated here in Panama this week and those to come following this Summit that are the measure of its success.
We will be leave with a sense of pride, achievement and accomplishment.
Together with CITEL, COMTELCA and CTU, we will put in place a follow up mechanism in order to report to you on progress on implementation of the outcomes of this Summit.
Let me again reaffirm ITU’s commitment to connecting the unconnected in all regions of the world, and particularly in this region, which offers so much extraordinary human and business potential.
As the Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, BDT, let me assure you that I, and the Bureau, will do everything to help achieve these noble goals.
I have every confidence that the region will rapidly succeed in connecting the unconnected and bridging its digital divide.
Together, let us make the difference!
Panama City, Panama 7/19/2012