Forum on Implementation of decisions of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08)
16 June 2009
Mr. Chairman, Honourable Gideon Quarcoo Vice-Minister of Communications,
Your Excellency, John Mahama Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana,
Honourable Minister of State for Communications, Haruna Idrissu
Daniel Waturu, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 12 Regional Group for Africa
Bernard Forson, Director General of the National Communications Authority of
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Distinguished delegates and invited guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen
Colleagues and friends
It is a great pleasure and honour to have the Vice-President and such
prominent persons with us for the opening of this Forum, I wish to welcome
you all – AKWABA, bienvenu
I am very pleased that we have my good friend Godwin Avenorgbo as our
Master of ceremonies: we are sure to be kept both on track and amused!
As always it is a great pleasure to be back in Ghana, to enjoy the famous
Ghanaian welcome and hospitality, and the excellent organization and
My sincere thanks go to the Honourable Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of
Communications, Ghana, for hosting this event, and to his staff especially
his deputy the Honourable Gideon Quarcoo, our Chairman, who have worked very
hard to make it happen.
I would also like to thank the National Communications Authority of Ghana
for their excellent collaboration and support in organizing this event.
It was a little over a year ago that we were here to discuss preparations
for WTSA-08. Time has gone quickly. In fact I had a shock earlier this year
when someone reminded me I would be standing for reelection next year. It
seems like I have only just arrived.
WTSA-08 in Johannesburg was a first in many ways:
It was my first WTSA as Director, a first for Africa, the first preceded
by a Global Standards Symposium, the first chaired by a woman, and the first
in which special accommodation was made for academia.
The facilities and hosting by the South African government were exemplary;
as I am sure those of you who were there will agree.
We invited academia for the first time, held three very well attended side
events on cybersecurity, accessibility, and ICTs and climate change, and had
an excellent demonstration of technology including 3D TV.
WTSA-08 saw the highest level of participation ever with nearly 1000
participants from 99 countries in attendance.
We were honoured by the presence of 13 ministers or deputy ministers and
VIPs spanning the world and the entire telecommunication and ICT industry.
This is a sure sign of the growing interest in the work of the ITU-T Sector.
We adopted the first ever ITU Resolutions on ICTs and climate change,
accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities, conformance and
interoperability testing, and encouraging academic participation and sector
members from developing countries – amongst many other significant
Resolutions which we will review today and tomorrow.
In short we received a very strong message from our members that ITU is,
and will remain the world’s pre-eminent global telecommunication and ICT
And we heard also, and very clearly, that ITU should continue on its
mission to connect the world, and that bridging the standardization gap, by
increasing developing country participation in our work, is an essential
prerequisite to achieve this goal.
ITU-T was truly given the green light to push forward many new initiatives
to connect the world. We have a lot of work to do.
And as I said, time flies. That is why we have developed a WTSA-08 Action
Plan which is on our website and which we will maintain from now until
WTSA-12. It will be presented to WTSA-12 to show what actions have been
taken to fulfill the decisions of WTSA-08.
We have done a lot already and you will hear from some of the excellent
speakers that have been assembled for this event on what has been achieved
since WTSA-08 and how we are working to meet the demands of the Resolutions,
and how you our members can assist us in this.
WTSA-08 is recognized as a great success, but it will only be looked on as
a success in time to come, if we manage to fulfill all the expectations
placed upon us.
The success of WTSA-08 was largely due to the extensive regional
preparations, and especially the very successful ITU Africa Region WTSA-08
Preparatory Meeting, held here in Accra in May last year. Africa made the
most significant contribution to the success of WTSA-08.
My thanks again to the government of South Africa, to the Ministry of
Communications of Ghana, to the African Telecommunication Union and to all
the African countries for their contribution to WTSA-08.
I would also like to thank all the members from this region that put
forward candidates for the leadership positions in our study groups, as well
as the individuals themselves.
Africa is now represented by 8 leadership positions compared to just 4 in
the previous study period.
This sends a very positive message to the rest of the world.
I look forward to working closely with them to maintain and further
improve ITU-T’s position as a leader in efficient international standards
Time passes, le temps fuie, and we will soon need to start thinking about
the next WTSA in 2012 which is likely to have associated with it a World
Conference on International Telecommunications to review the International
With your support, I hope I shall still be TSB Director and able to
collaborate closely with you in your preparations for these important
The last time I was here I mentioned that I was encouraging the
establishment of regional groups. I was very pleased that almost at the same
time Ghana very kindly offered to host the first meeting of the ITU-T Study
Group 12 Regional Group for Africa (dealing with the very important issue of
quality of service) which will start on Thursday. I could not resist the
opportunity to ask our hosts if we could add on this two day Forum to that
meeting, and I would like to thank them most sincerely for agreeing to take
on this extra burden at rather short notice.
I will not take more of your time. We have a very interesting programme to
look forward to and excellent speakers. I would like to thank the speakers
for their efforts to prepare their presentations and for coming here to
support our event.
I wish you all a productive, informative and enjoyable Forum.
Thank you for your attention.
MIDAMUASE, Merci beaucoup