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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

BDT Director's Speeches

ITU Arab Regional Development Forum
Amman, Jordan  23 March 2015

OPENING REMARKS

BY

Mr. Brahima Sanou

DIRECTOR, TELECOMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT BUREAU (BDT)

INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION (ITU), GENEVA

ITU Arab Regional Development Forum

23-24 March 2015, Amman, Jordan

"Broadband for Sustainable Development"

Excellency, Mrs. Majd Shweikeh, Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Jordan

Dr. Mohammed Al Taani, Chairman of TRC, Jordan

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen

A very good morning to you all.

It is my great pleasure and honor to be here in Amman.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to His Majesty King Abdalah the 2nd and the Government of Jordan, represented here by Her Excellency Minister Shweikeh for the very warm welcome and the usual and kind 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.

Excellencies

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are living in an era of convergence of telecom/ICT infrastructure, the convergence of services and the convergence of service providers.

The telecom/ICT industry has become broad and diverse, but most importantly it is changing so rapidly that it seems that the future is today.

Under such circumstances, reporting back to the membership every 4 years at the occasion of Regional Preparatory Meetings to WTDC and WTDC itself would not be effective enough.

It is against this background that I took the initiative in 2011 to make the Regional Development Forums (RDF) the platform for annual reporting to the membership at regional levels.

The RDF is meant to be a platform for dialogue and interaction on the implementation of Dubai Action Plan between ITU-D Members and BDT.

The RDF is also an occasion to extend the conversation on development issues to the telecom/ICT ecosystem multistakeholders who are not yet Members of ITU Development sector.

I was very happy that such approach was embedded in Resolution 17 of WTDC-14 following a contribution from Arab Region and I am also very happy that RDF for Arab Region is the first in this series after WTDC-14, thanks to my colleagues of the Arab Regional Office.

As you are aware, WTDC 2014 adopted five Regional Initiatives (RIs) proposed by the Arab States namely Broadband, Cybersecurity, ICTs for the Environment, Smart Learning, and ICTs for Persons with Disabilities. Regional Initiatives have been and will remain my main priority and focus.

I am glad to report to you that since last WTDC, the ITU Arab Regional Office worked closely with relevant regional stakeholders to formulate an implementation. During this RDF, we will present the proposed implementation plan for all the Regional Initiatives with the purpose of getting your feedback to ensure that they meet your vison and aspirations. 

It goes without saying that the implementation of the Regional Initiatives requires a true multi-stakeholder approach led by the governments of the region. We in the BDT will take the needful steps to extend our hands to all the stakeholders in the region and outside the region for the implementation of these initiatives.   

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our common goal is to promote vibrant information and knowledge societies across the region.  Fortunately, we are in a region that has witnessed great strides in the development of the ICT sector in most of the countries.  For example, the vast majority of Arab States have reached very high levels of mobile penetration.  The Arab States are well-connected to submarine cables.  Furthermore, around 152 million people in the Arab States were online by the end of 2014. Overall, most of the Arab countries have surpassed the average of the ICT Development Index for developing countries.

However there is still more to be done to ensure that all the countries of Region are fully connected.

The theme of this RDF is "Broadband for Sustainable Development" because it is time to build on the great achievements in Broadband in the region by focusing on applications for sustainable development.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to welcome you all to this Regional Development Forum and to express  my gratitude and appreciation to our host, the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.

I look forward to very fruitful discussions.

I thank you.