Honourable T. Pillay Chedumbrum, Minister of Information and Communication Technology,
Mr Trilock Dwarka, Chairman, ICT Authority, Mauritius
Dr Krishna Oolun, Executive Director, ICT Authority,
Dr Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director, e-Lab, INSEAD
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of Mr. Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 9th ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators meeting. Mr Sanou expresses his profound regret for being unable to participate due to reasons beyond his control. Let me take this opportunity to thank Dr Krishna Oolun, Executive Director of the ICTA, for accepting to chair this meeting and lead us for the next three days.
On behalf of ITU and its membership, I would like to thank ICTA and the entire Government of Mauritius, for hosting this meeting. You will agree with me the facilities are first class. Perhaps, this is easy to understand because Mauritius is an island country. They say, small is beautiful and comes with flexibility and agility. Mauritius has successfully hosted many United Nations, ITU and other International Conferences and has never been found wanting.
This meeting is being held at the right location as Mauritius has undergone tremendous transformation in recent decades and its economy, which used to be largely dependent on sugar, is today increasingly diversified and ICT-driven. In fact, Mauritius made big strides towards its quest to becoming a Cyber island.
As I am sure you already know, Mauritius is a very active member of the ITU, and thanks to effective regulation by our friends in ICTA, the local ICT sector has become more competitive, vibrant and efficient. As a result, it is no surprise to see Mauritius ranked first in the African region as evidenced by the ITUs latest ICT Development Index.
All signs point to interesting discussions over the next three days. We should be able to have diverse but interesting views from the more than 270 registered participants representing 85 countries, as well as representatives from international organizations, academic institutions and private sector. This confirms that the WTIM has indeed become the leading forum on Information Society Measurement discourse.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Monitoring ICT developments based on quantitative indicators remains high on the global ICT for development (ICT4D) agenda.
During the recent Broadband Leadership Summit held in October in Geneva, in conjunction with the ITU Telecom World 2011 event, world ICT leaders endorsed ambitious but achievable targets for broadband policy, affordability and uptake, and we will be reporting regularly on progress made towards meeting those targets. The data collected by ITU from its membership will provide a key source for the monitoring of these internationally agreed goals and targets.
In order to take effective ICT policy decisions it is essential to have reliable data on access to ICTs; on how ICTs are used by citizens, governments and businesses; and on the impact of ICTs on social and economic development. You may recall that the world community met in Istanbul from 9 to 13 May 2011 on the occasion of the Fourth United Nations Conference for the Least Developed Countries (LDC-1V). On that occasion, new targets were set on access to ICTs in LDCs where over 15 of them are Small Island Developing States like Mauritius.
For that reason, ITU is making every effort to achieve the set goals and gives a lot of importance to ensuring the availability of reliable and timely indicators. At this juncture, let me share with you some of our latest figures.
Our most recent studies show that the number of Internet users worldwide doubled during the past five years, and will have reached 2.4 billion by the end of this year. Developing countries have increased their share of Internet users from 44% in 2006, to 62% in 2011.
Only 26% of the population in developing countries are currently using the Internet, and very few of them have broadband connection.
A staggering 6 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions are expected by the end of this year. More than 90% of the global population lives within a mobile cellular signal.
In Africa, we see mobile-broadband penetration standing at 4%, compared with less than 1% for fixed-broadband penetration. Worldwide, almost 160 economies have launched 3G services commercially, and the number of active mobile broadband subscriptions has increased to almost 1.2 billion. The percentage of the population living within reach of a 3G mobile signal has reached 45 %. But much more still needs to be done to bring affordable access to broadband services to people in all countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This years WTIM will focus a lot of attention on the subject of broadband measurement. In particular, we need to look closely at the different broadband speeds that are provided, and at the quality of the service, since these indicators can make a huge difference for broadband users.
Broadband needs to be affordable, everywhere. ITU has been tracking fixed-broadband prices for a number of years, and publishes them as part of its ICT Price Basket. We have seen that access to fixed broadband services has become much more affordable over the past few years, especially in developing countries. With the increase in mobile broadband, we also need to monitor its affordability. I am very pleased to see that these important issues will be addressed by the meeting, and I encourage all of you to actively participate in the discussion and share your experiences.
Ladies and gentlemen,
International cooperation is essential if we want to advance the global information society. The same is true for ICT measurement. I am therefore pleased to see the participation of other international organizations in this meeting, with whom we closely cooperate under the framework of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.
The Partnership, which was created seven years ago, has been highly successful in raising awareness on the importance of ICT measurement and helping countries to produce ICT statistics. For that reason, session one of this meeting has been dedicated to showcase this spirit of Partnership.
A new feature of this WTIM is the addition of a new topic on measuring e-waste. This is very timely as serious discussions are going on in Durban, at COP 17.
Finally, a hearty welcome to all of you. It is my fervent hope that the 9th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting will be a resounding success. Again, please remember that indicators permeate every facet of human life - it is a common denominator in all sectors. For that reason, the world is looking up to you, here present, to provide sound indicators on the basis of which the world of tomorrow could be shaped.
I thank you.
Pailles, Mauritius 12/7/2011