Mr. Brahima Sanou
DIRECTOR, TELECOMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT BUREAU (BDT)
INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION (ITU), GENEVA
ITU Americas Regional Development Forum
19 August 2013, Montevideo, Uruguay
"Building Knowledge for the Development of Inclusive Societies"
Excellency Mr. Roberto Kreimerman, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining,
Honorable Ministers here present,
Mrs. Carolina Cosse, President of ANTEL,
Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good morning to you all and welcome!
It gives me great pleasure and honor to be here in Montevideo. I thank the Government of Uruguay for the very warm welcome and the hospitality extended to all of us. The facilities that have been provided to us are excellent and I have no doubt, that these will have a very possible impact on our work.
What a great honor for us to have Excellency Mr. Roberto Kreimerman, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining gracing this opening ceremony!
I thank you sincerely for your commitment to ITU, this Regional Development Forum, and the upcoming Regional Preparatory Meeting. With your presence at this opening, I assure you that the participants and my colleagues from ITU already feel at home in this beautiful and historical city of Montevideo.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Regional Development Forum (RDF) is an annual event aimed at providing a setting for the ITU to inform its membership on the main trends in ICT development, and to report annually at regional level on the main results achieved under the leadership of regional and area offices. It is also an opportunity to get the feedback from the membership in order to streamline and improve its deliverables and delivery processes.
The RDF also, and equally importantly, provides a setting for key stakeholders, who are not yet ITU members to provide the ITU with feedback on the developments that they observed and which might impact, negatively or positively, on the implementation of our activities.
As the RDF brings together stakeholders with an interest in ICTs, let us have an open and results-oriented dialogue on how we should move the ICT Sector ahead faster for the benefit of all citizens, because ICTs are about people. Let us together put a human face on ICT. This is what the RDF seeks to achieve.
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The theme of this RDF is: Building Knowledge for The Development of Inclusive Societies. This theme says it all. Our primary goal is not just to develop and deploy technologies. Our aim is to make a difference to the ordinary people and ultimately establish networked Knowledge Societies.
The output of this RDF will be submitted to the RPM as information document. That way, we may enhance the region's preparations for the World Telecommunication Development Conference.
Let me now turn to some key issues that will be addressed by this RDF: A World of Content and The Way to Build Inclusive Societies. These are some of the key sessions that will be discussed. They will debate the importance of creating quality content that meets the wide range of needs of every country as well as the need to facilitate real time interaction between Internet users thus shaping a globally inclusive society.
To some extent, the sessions will demonstrate that through the use of different types of social networking platforms we have the opportunity to share experiences and knowledge among countries and regions.
We also need to promote a generation of content developers, particularly the local content developers, to serve the needs of the productive sectors such as agriculture, fishing, small industry, import and export of products, financing and education. In this regard I am pleased to inform you that I recently launched three initiatives namely:
- First the m-powering Development initiative, a framework through which the now over 6 billion mobile devices can be used with mobile applications to fuel development from the hands of ordinary people.
- Second the Smart Sustainable Development Model initiative, ensuring we can stand ready for emergencies but not idle for development by using "off-peak" availability of emergency communication infrastructure for development.
- And Third the ITU Academy initiative, to boost ICT and information literacy as a tool for working; providing a researched body of knowledge, information and skills development online.
You will have two of these initiatives presented in detail here.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This RDF will also address Infrastructure and access and affordability. Like in other regions, large populations live in rural and remote areas, many citizens have financial impediments, a significant number of people have disabilities, and low literacy levels exist in some communities.
In this era of broadband, under-served areas should benefit from the delivery of education, banking, business and health services through ICTs. Experts will also look at investment issues. For example:
- How much investment is required to ensure universal broadband connectivity?
- Is an universal access policy based on affordability possible? How could conformance and interoperability, and the creation of regional and international exchange points be fast-tracked to benefit countries?
- What can we do for the roaming charge not to be a big barrier to regional communication and integration?
These are some of the questions the experts will respond to.
The final session will focus on 4 important WSIS Action Lines which are the pillars to the concept of the theme of this RDF, Inclusive Knowledge Societies. Our panelists who are from diverse stakeholders and diverse backgrounds will provide their insights on this as well.
In conclusion, I would like once again, to welcome you to this Regional Development Forum for the Americas. For those who will be with us in the Regional Preparatory Meeting tomorrow, we will have another opportunity to continue with our conversation, exchange of ideas and debate on how to shape the ICT agenda from 2015 to 2018. I wish you fruitful discussions.
I thank you.