• H.E. Ignace Gatare, Minister at the Office of the President in charge of Information and Communication Technologies, Rwanda (Republic of) ;
• Mr Francois Régis Gatarayiha, Acting Director General, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) ;
• Mr Soumaila Abdoulkarim, Secretary General, African Telecommunications Union (ATU) ;
• Dr. Jones Killimbe, CEO RASCOM, Chairman, African Regional Working Party on Private Sector Issues ;
• Mr . Maleh Saine, Representative of the Director General, PURA, The Gambia ;
• CEOs and Commissioners of the Regulatory Authorities and operators ;
• Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my pleasure and honor to join my voice to that of the Rwandan authorities to welcome you to the 12th Forum on Telecommunication/ICT Regulation and Partnership in Africa (FTRA-2011) that is being held here in Kigali at the kind invitation of the Government of the Republic of Rwanda through the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) and in collaboration with the African Telecommunications Regulators’ Network and the African Regional Working Party on private sector issues.
Let me start by thanking the Government and the people of the Republic of Rwanda for the very warm welcome and the excellent facilities put at our disposal.
Your Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen
Creation of an enabling environment for investment, economic growth and enhanced welfare for all has always been ITU’s preoccupation and remains high on our agenda. This commitment is demonstrated by the number of activities undertaken across the world including information sharing, creation of tools for effective regulation, national and regional assistance and creation of training materials.
The FTRA is an excellent avenue to accomplish these objectives. Since its inception in 2000, its has continued to mature as an effective and efficient platform where regulators and service providers continue to exchange information, acquire new skills and techniques as well as sharing experiences. I am proud to have been involved in its birth and growth to reach its current successful level.
As you know, the ICT sector has experienced exponential growth in recent years, and the figures speak for themselves:
By the end of 2010, there was an estimated 5.3 billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, including 940 million subscriptions to 3G services ;
In 2010, 143 countries were offering 3G services commercially, compared to 95 in 2007;
In 2010, the number of Internet users surpassed 2 billion, out of which 1.2 billion were in developing countries ;
The progress recorded in Africa region are commendable, thanks to the excellent work by policy makers, regulators as well as operators and service providers in the region.
The next big revolution will be for broadband. In the twenty-first century, the socio-economic development of each and every country depends on its ability to provide equitable and affordable access to broadband networks to all people regardless of the location, the time and other specific circumstances.
In this context, the ITU and UNESCO launched the Broadband Commission for Digital Development under the co-chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Mr Carlos Slim Helú, Honorary Lifetime Chairman of Grupo Carso.
I am pleased and honored to recognize the central role played by His Excellency President Kagame in this initiative. Through his vision, Rwanda has made considerable progress in the ICT sector. These efforts have led to considerable achievements for the benefit of Rwanda’s people.
Ladies and gentlemen
It should be noted that despite this significant progress, the disparity between developed and developing countries in broadband penetration levels and Internet access illustrates the challenges and efforts to be made in order to narrow the digital divide.
Today, regulators and policy makers are in constant search of solutions that would enable them to extend affordable ICT access and services to all people including rural communities and persons with disabilities. The use of innovative technologies such as cloud computing which is a new approach to the usage of ICT resources is gaining popularity to overcome this challenge in the world.
The ITU is happy to provide you a platform through FTRA-11 to exchange information, search for best practices and consensus building around Cloud computing so that you can get more knowledge about this topic in order to assess its suitability for use in your efforts to extend ICTs to all communities in your respective countries. For this reason, we have a team of experts with a rich international experience in this subject who will walk us throughout all the salient points we need to know about cloud computing.
Although this technology can offer innovative solutions, there are still few challenges to be addressed such as :
• Consumer protection and sustainability ;
• The legal and regulatory obligations related to data protection;
• Standards to ensure harmonization and interoperability of this new technology;
• The legal framework concerning cross-border data and content such as intellectual property rights (IPRs).
Your discussions will explore these issues among others including advantages and challenges of cloud computing technology to governments, industry and other ICT stakeholders, focusing on how it can help companies especially SMMEs to reduce their IT costs and governments to provide services to populations at lower costs.
As a way to bring stakeholders to address these challenges, the ITU Standardization Sector established a focus group on the standardization of cloud computing that includes 25 organizations both from the public and private sector, academies and research institutes. The group is open to non-ITU members and examines inter alia questions like security and privacy. The results of the work of the focus group are expected by the end of 2011.
ITU is thus playing a key role in addressing technical and regulatory challenges requiring international coordination on Cloud computing.
Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished delegates,
Regulators have a key role to play to benefit from such innovative technologies. To further their work, the 11th edition of the Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) and the 4th edition of the Global ICT Industry Leaders’ Forum (GILF) will take place in the city of Armenia in Colombia from 20 to 23 September 2011 and the shared theme for this year is Smart Regulation for a Broadband World.
The theme of the FTRA is thus a perfect match for what is to come in September and I kindly invite you all to join us in Colombia.
Finally, and looking ahead, I would like to invite you to consider the issues that the next FTRA could address and which you wish the BDT to focus on. You are invited to share your suggestions with us during the Wrap up and way forward Session.
I wish you very fruitful deliberations and thank for your attention.
Kigali, Rwanda 6/13/2011