Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

BDT Director's Speeches

ICT Measurement Forum
Dubai, United Arab Emirates  14 December 2016

ICT Measurement Forum

Opening of the Policy Segment

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Dubai, UAE

Opening Speech

Brahima Sanou, Director

ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

• H.E Engineer Majed Al Mesmar, TRA Deputy Director General,
• Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers here presents,
• Mr. Chaesub Lee, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU,
• Distinguished participants, Ladies and gentlemen,

It my great pleasure to welcome you to the ICT measurement Forum here in Dubai.

On behalf of all of us I would like express our deepest gratitude to the Government and the people of the United Arab Emirates, particularly the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, for hosting the ICT Measurement Forum, and for their legendary hospitality extended to all of us.

It is always a great pleasure to be returning again to the wonderful city of Dubai to experience the generosity of people and the outstanding organization of ITU events. 

Distinguished participants Ladies and Gentlemen,

We assemble today in this important forum just days after the World Telecommunication/ICT Symposium that was held in Gaborone, Botswana from 21 to 23 November 2016. 

More than 400 participants gathered in Botswana and debated a wide range of topical issues including measuring digital inclusion and data literacy, bundled services, the Internet of Things (IoT) and indicators for disaster risk reduction. 

We also presented the ongoing progress of our recently launched project on “Big data for measuring the information society”. The results of this project will illustrate new ways of producing ICT indicators based on big data sources, for improved policy making and investment decisions. You will hear more about this project in tomorrow’s session.

As usual this year’s Measuring the Information Society Report released the results of the ICT Development Index (IDI). 

First on foremost the IDI is a benchmarking tool that aims to assist you in evaluating achievements in your country through an internationally agreed methodology.

The IDI also allows us to learn from one another, share and adopt best practices to boost the development of ICTs in our respective countries.

Last year, I commissioned an independent assessment of the IDI. The conclusion of this independent assessment was very bold on the soundness of the IDI methodology and indicators.

However, as technologies advance and more data become available, we are continuously working  to improve the IDI indicators and I am pleased to announce that we have set up a special IDI working group to review the indicators included in the index, under the framework of the work of the Expert Group on ICT Household Indicators and the Expert Group on Telecommunication and ICT Indicators.

These two groups are very important to our work since they deliver the technical expertise on how to capture technological advances through new definitions and methodologies. I encourage all of you to actively participate in these groups and share your knowledge and experience.

I am delighted to report that the results of IDI 2016 revealed that there is significant improvement in the Arab region across the board. 

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain both were able to achieve exceptionally high IDI scores reserving them a high rank among the top quartile globally.

The most substantial average improvement in the region on any individual indicator was in mobile-broadband penetration, where there were particularly strong performances in Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. All countries in the region also improved their performance on the proportion of households with Internet access. 

The UAE, our host, has consistently achieved high performance on ICT developments. Over the past few years, the UAE has scored outstanding growth in several ICT indicators and has moved up from rank 49 in the IDI 2010, to rank 38 in the IDI 2016.

In particular, UAE improved its ranking on the IDI use sub-index, from rank 46 in 2010 to rank 27 in the IDI 2016 – a very impressive performance over a relatively short period of time. Mobile cellular and fixed broadband services are very affordable in the country and have contributed to high mobile and Internet uptake.

Distinguished participants Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am sure you would agree with me that this important ICT Measurement Forum comes at an opportune time right after WTIS to enable stakeholders in the Arab region to engage in much needed discussions to overcome regional challenges. 

My presence here today is the testimony of how high ICT statistics and indicators are in my priorities. We feel privileged of providing the world with the most reliable and trustworthy data to measure progress in ICT sector and benchmark across the world.

We are all here today because we all agree with Lord Kelvin when he said that: "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it."

Let us use these three days to interact in order to be equipped to measure better ICTs so we can improve them and accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Developments Goals.

And once again I would congratulate TRA for the great achievements of UAE in the ICT sector.
It is now my great honor to handover to you, my dear friend and brother Eng. Majed Al Mesmar, a copy the 2016 Measuring the Information Society report.

Shoukrane Djezilan.