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BDT Director's Speeches

Opening remarks at Global ICT Forum on Human Capacity Development
Cape Town, Republic of South Africa  23 October 2012

Honorable Minister of Communications of the Republic of South Africa Ms. Dina Pule,

Ministers and other Representatives of Government

CEOs of Regulatory and Representatives of Academia

Distinguished Delegates ,Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this Global ICT Forum on Human Capacity Development 2012.

Allow me from the outset to express our deepest gratitude to the Government of the Republic of South Africa for accepting to host this event. This is the first time this global event is being hosted in Africa in its more than two decades history. I also would like to thank the Department of Communications and its - e-skills Institute, as well as Telkom South Africa through its Centre for Learning, for co-hosting this event.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

One may ask the question: "Why is this Forum being held, and why is it so important?" The answer lies in the demands of the world we now live in. We live in a period of rapid change, driven by technology, and the ICT sector is at the centre of this change.

Our ability to absorb and use all this information will depend on how fast and how often we learn.

It has been said over and over again - but I don't hesitate to repeat that human resources are the most valuable asset of any organization. Therefore, human capacity development is key to the success of our organizations.

The theme for this year, which is "Digital Inclusion: Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting" was chosen deliberately, and for several reasons.

First, the timing serves to remind us of the looming deadline of June 2015 for transitioning to digital broadcasting in the case of a majority of the countries. Second, the transition as one of the key technological milestones on that will have an economic impact through the utilization of the Digital Dividend and I will be happy to launch with you during this forum the ITU report of Digital Dividend; and third , -and perhaps most importantly -it reminds us to pay attention to the critical role of developing human capital in order to fully leverage the power of ICT.

I am pleased that this Forum incorporates the e-skills Summit for South Africa, which is the country's action to prepare its nationals for a knowledge society. I believe a lot can be learnt by other countries from the South African initiative. E-skilling a nation is an integral part of preparing for the digital economy.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;

We have more than 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions; more than one third of the world's population is online. The use of social media is exploding, with Facebook reaching 1 billion users.

This means that, very soon it will not be a question of the availability of ICT's and related technologies that will be the differentiating factor among nations, but how well we use those ICT's. Attention should therefore focus on how best to develop, utilize and leverage on human brainpower.

We are witnessing an extraordinary change in the way education and training is delivered, knowledge disseminated and learning acquired. Mobile is proving to be a powerful innovation tool in the area of learning, just as they did in the area of banking.

We need to keep exploiting this growing power of mobile technology in every way possible, and use every innovation to advance the wellbeing of mankind.

Distinguished delegates , Ladies and Gentlemen,

ITU has always worked hard to support human capacity building for its membership. Over the past two years ITU has been working to streamline its human capacity building activities. I am happy to announce that I will launch the ITU Academy during this forum.

The primary objective of the ITU Academy is to harmonize and integrate all existing ITU training services and to extend the current portfolio of training programs. It offers a wide range of partnership in delivering curriculum on all aspects of telecommunications including Radiocommunication, and Standardization. The courses will be delivered both face-to-face, as well as online through the ITU Academy portal.

Last week I launched during Telecom World in Dubai, the m-Powering Development initiative, whose main thrust is the empowerment of people through mobile devices.

A key component of this initiative will be mobile education and mobile learning. I also signed a Letter of Intent with the m-Education Alliance, which is a group of organizations working towards leveraging mobile tools for education and learning. All these efforts are geared towards capacity building.

I look at this Forum, as a grate occasion where knowledge and ideas are shared, experiences exchanged, and human networks established.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope that your forum will be able to come up with actionable recommendations that will form the basis of our on-going capacity building programs, and that our partnership in capacity building will address your most pressing needs.

I Thank You.