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ITU TELECOM – Connecting Industry and the Information Society

For ITU TELECOM, the year 2001 was marked primarily by the successful organization of the AFRICA 2001 event, which brought together the communication community from across the African continent.

ITU TELECOM AFRICA 2001 (12–16 November, Johannesburg, South Africa)

In spite of the difficult global economic circumstances and the troubles in the telecoms industry itself, AFRICA 2001 was a tremendous success, and was a watershed event for ITU, with Sub-Saharan telephone density for the first time breaching the one-per-cent subscriber barrier considered essential to economic growth. By the time of AFRICA 2001, mobile subscribers across the continent also outnumbered their fixed-line counterparts, and ITU was able to confidently forecast that there would be more than 100 million mobile cellular subscribers in Africa by the year 2005.

Hosted by the Government of the Republic of South Africa, the event was ITU’s fifth regional TELECOM Exhibition and Forum for Africa. It was held at the Gallagher Estate, outside Johannesburg.

The Exhibition attracted 15 000 telecommunication professionals, including many organizations who bring ICTs to communities and who wanted to see what was on offer. More than 200 exhibitors from the telecommunication, information technology and audiovisual entertainment fields were on hand to demonstrate their latest products and services.

The event was also attended by industry leaders at the highest level, from ambassadors and nearly 40 government ministers, to the CEOs of the front-ranked market players, along with some of the most respected industry analysts and commentators.

The Forum at AFRICA 2001 was especially well attended, with standing room only at some sessions. Altogether nearly 2 000 people attended the Forum (including VIPs, press, etc.), which encompassed a Policy and Development Summit, an Infrastructure and Applications Summit, a TELECOM Development Symposium and, for the first time, a Youth Forum.

The Forum was closed by ITU Secretary-General, Yoshio Utsumi, South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki, ITU Deputy Secretary-General, Roberto Blois, South Africa’s Minister for Communications, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, and Hamadoun Touré, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT).

ITU TELECOM Exhibitors’ Meeting, 22 May, Geneva

The Exhibitors’ Meeting, held mainly to focus attention on the World 2003 event, but also to publicize the forthcoming regional events, brought together around 200 exhibitors’ representatives. The meeting was marked by an open and positive dialogue, and was an excellent opportunity for ITU to demonstrate its awareness of past problems and to demonstrate its commitment to responding to them.

ITU TELECOM Board Meeting, 14 November, South Africa

The ITU TELECOM Board Meeting in November brought together key representatives from both government and industry – and gave the floor to them, so they could air their concerns, suggestions, criticisms and comments. The meeting was well attended, and has allowed ITU to develop a number of new strategies for the future of the ITU TELECOM events.

Future Events

Work was also performed during 2001 on preparing for the future ITU TELECOM events to take place in 2002 and 2003. See  for further details.

Financial Situation

In accordance with Article 19 of ITU’s Financial Regulations, any surplus income or excess expenditure resulting from the world or regional TELECOM events is transferred to the Exhibition Working Capital Fund.



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Updated : 2002-11-20