Secretary General of the ITU,
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the delegation of Ghana, allow me to extend our appreciation to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for hosting this conference and indeed, for the generous hospitality extended to us since our arrival in this beautiful city of Dubai.
My delegation and I, join others in congratulating the Secretary General, the BDT Director, Mr. Brahima Sanou, together with ITU management and staff for successfully convening this conference.
While we look forward to an engaging WTDC, we also wish to pay our tribute to colleagues who are not with us today, but whose work will continue to strengthen the ITU as the world's foremost international institution to promote ICT development and help minimise the widening Digital Divide between the developing countries and the developed world.
Mr. Chairman, we acknowledge that this conference is taking place at a time that global attention is focusing on the positive application of ICT for development and a gradual transformation to the knowledge society and global peace.
It is for this reason that we thank all delegates from the African Region who converged in Accra, Ghana, last October during the Regional Development Forum and the WTDC Regional Preparatory Meeting to take forward looking decisions on the African Initiatives for the Development sector. We acknowledge, with thanks the enormous contributions made by the Director of BDT and his team including the Regional Secretariat of ITU. Additionally, the presence of the Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Zhao helped to support the Africa Region to shape the African Initiatives. Worth acknowledging, is also the effective co-ordination role played by the African Telecommunications Union (ATU).
Since the Accra conference, the Africa Region has remained committed to work collaboratively to ensure broadband connectivity for all irrespective of geographical location and status.
We welcome the choice of theme, namely, "Broadband for Sustainable Development" which for us in Ghana, Africa and the developing world, remains critical for national development as ICT provides development opportunity and also opportunity for diversification from reliance on commodity exports that continue to suffer from deteriorating external market conditions.
Since the Hyderabad conference in 2010, Ghana has made significant progress in broadband infrastructure development. In accordance with the goals of the Smart Africa manifesto, Ghana has increased its international connectivity capacity to 12.3 Terrabits from five submarine cables, supported by a terrestrial network of more than 4,000 kilometres of optic fibre nationwide. Indeed Ghana has developed its policy making, Broadband a universal tool for development with emphasis on the provision of Last Mile Connectivity, affordable for use by unserved, underserved, as well as vulnerable communities. The private sector Industry Players are highly commended for their collaboration.
In the area of mobile and wireless broadband, Ghana has exceeded the 100 percent subscription level and has put in place an impressive universality fund management system that provides ICT infrastructure and services to schools, communities, and indeed, inmates of prisons to facilitate their rehabilitation. The Services Sector, strengthened by ICT has emerged as the largest contributor to the country's GDP. It contributed up to 12.1 percent in of the Sector's 49 percent in 2012.
There is still a lot more to be accomplished. As we assess the objectives of WSIS, as we build on the understanding of the World Telecommunications Policy Forum (WTPF-13), as we reflect on the commitments of WCIT and also, as we engage in multi-stakeholder discussions on the opportunities and challenges to be overcome, we will consider the various contributions that have been submitted to this WTDC.
We therefore invite this conference to give consideration to increasing access to broadband infrastructure, encouraging investment and security of networks, promoting widespread internet, e-government network and issues of affordability.
We reiterate our confidence in the ITU and in the work of the BDT. We are hopeful that we will make progress in meeting the goal of promoting international development and world peace.
Mr Chairman, Distinguished delegates Ghana remains committed to continue to contribute towards the work of ITU as one of the representatives for the Africa Region. Ghana has therefore presented her candidature for re-election to serve on the ITU Council during the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 (PP14) in Busan, Republic of Korea. We count on the support of all.
Finally, we convey to you, Mr. Chairman, our wishes for a very successful conference.