Press conference: speech of Mr Brahima Sanou, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU
Thank you Madame Gaj, and let me just reiterate how honoured we are to have you as this year’s GSR Chair.
Ladies and gentlemen,
ITU, and particularly my own Bureau, the Telecommunication Development Bureau, does a lot of work behind the scenes to promote global ICT development, through a wide range of expert reports, through on-the-ground projects, and through assistance to our Member States and industry partners.
The Global Symposium for Regulators is one of our more visible activities, and, to my mind, one of our most important.
Regulators are the essential component of the complex market mechanisms that ensure affordable and widespread access to information and communication technologies.
But creating the right regulatory environment for healthy competition and the growth of services has never been more challenging.
New technologies are springing up faster than we can create the policy frameworks to accommodate them. And service innovation is taking place at lightning speed.
This event is vital to the global regulatory community, because it allows the specialists who create the regulations that are so important in shaping today’s and tomorrow’s ICT markets to exchange real-world experiences, building on each other’s successes, and avoiding some of the pitfalls that others may have encountered in what is often uncharted territory.
Because it is dedicated exclusively to those working in ICT regulation – be they heads of national regulatory authorities or Chief Regulatory Officers from the private sector – the Global Symposium for Regulators brings together like-minded professionals who speak the same language.
I believe that is why the discussions at this event are particularly productive. Over the next three days, the experts gathered here from around the world will strive to get to grips with the issues that challenge EVERY regulator – from the world’s most wired markets, to emerging economies and Least Developed Countries.
We are very privileged this year to have as our host one of Europe’s most proactive and effective regulators.
As you will see from the market overview available in the room as part of your media kit, Poland has one of Europe’s highest levels of mobile cellular penetration, at 140%. It also has some of the most affordable prices for fixed broadband, fixed telephone and mobile.
Mobile broadband in particular is booming here in Poland, with around 19 million active subscriptions and a penetration of almost 50% - well above comparable economies throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
I’ve also realized since arriving here on Monday that Poland has one of Europe’s best educated, talented and energetic pools of young professionals.
It is no wonder that your economy continues to prove itself resilient, despite the global economic downturn – this unbeatable combination state-of-the art, affordable ICT infrastructure, high educational standards and a culture that values hard work and achievement will surely make Poland THE country to watch in the coming years, and I confidently predict that you will soon lead the region in many fields.
This perhaps comes as no surprise to Poles. You already have an illustrious history of leaders in both science and the arts. From Copernicus, to Frederic Chopin, to Marie Curie, to Pope John Paul the Second, yours is a country that excels in all spheres.
I have no doubt that you will use tomorrow’s networks and services to achieve many more great things, and I hope that ITU will have the pleasure of continuing to collaborate very closely with UKE and the Polish government to help make your ambitious plans a reality.
On that note, it now gives me great pleasure to hand back to Sarah, who will open the floor to questions.