Your Excellency, José da Rocha, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology,
Your Excellency, Dr Safeca, Deputy Minister,
Your Excellency, Dr Teta, Deputy Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure and an honour to be with you here today in Luanda and to be able to participate in this workshop on the presentation of the recently approved ICT Policy for Angola, which is known as the ‘White Book for ICT’ in Angola.
Since the publication of your last ‘white book’ in the late 1990s, and after peace was reached, the ICT sector in Angola has achieved significant growth, with overall teledensity increasing from just 7% in 2005 to over 50% by the beginning of last year.
This tremendous growth has been achieved due to the commitment of the Government of Angola in investing in infrastructure while at same time allowing the provision of services to be liberalized.
This success was due to the bold policy and regulatory environment put in place by your government, as well as its implementation through effective regulation. I commend you for this achievement, which has put you ahead of many other countries in the region in terms of network development and teledensity.
Angola is endowed with abundant natural resources. I would like to appeal to the government and citizens to take advantage of these resources to improve the social and economic situation of the people of Angola, and to continue your already great efforts to develop the necessary ICT infrastructure, and in particular the broadband networks which will allow you to deliver the ICT services needed to develop an inclusive information society.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Sustainable development in any nation is easier to achieve if its people are healthy, wealthy and knowledgeable. ICTs can be harnessed to enhance the quality of education and facilitate the knowledge society; access to information that in turn can narrow the gap in living standards between rural and urban populations, and therefore reduce migration to the kinds of slum developments which are often associated with high levels of poverty.
In the 21st century, broadband infrastructure will be considered a basic infrastructure, just like roads, water or energy grids.
Broadband infrastructure offers tremendous potential to all – not only in terms of new applications such as VoIP and IPTV, but also in terms of delivering essential e-services, including e-health, e-education and e-government.
Despite the obvious advantages, many developing countries – and notably countries in Africa – face major challenges in developing and using broadband infrastructure. Access is not only limited to just a few locations in each country, but it is also frequently far beyond the reach of average pocket-books.
According to recent statistics issued by ITU during the WSIS Forum in Geneva recently, there are still 32 countries in the world where broadband access costs more than 50% of the monthly income per capita.
So how can we make broadband much more affordable and much more widely available?
To address this challenge, the ITU has been working with various governments and other partners on a wide range of initiatives to improve the global accessibility of broadband ICT infrastructure and services, and to decrease the cost of such access.
One of the most important of these has been the launch in 2010 of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which is co-chaired by President Kagame of Rwanda and Carlos Slim of Mexico, with myself and the Director-General of UNESCO serving as co-vice-chairs.
Increasingly, around the world, people depend on broadband-based technologies and services in their everyday social and economic activities. Their lives now depend more and more on interconnected computers which provide access to the world’s wealth of information and knowledge, and never before has access to information been so democratized.
Unfortunately, good things also tend to come hand-in-hand with bad things, and the global information infrastructure from which so many benefit has also opened up new opportunities for cybercriminals, who clearly reduce the trust for using new services and limit their benefits to society at large.
Bearing in mind the scope of the threats, ITU took a leading role in the coordination of global efforts by launching the Global Cybersecurity Agenda, the GCA, in 2007.
Cybersecurity matters have also been increasingly reflected in the Union’s work, and were discussed extensively at the ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, last October. Cybersecurity is also one of the five programmes being implemented by ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, BDT.
We also faced up to the increasing threat to children and young people online by launching the Child Online Protection initiative, COP, at the end of 2008, in partnership with other interested parties, within the scope of the GCA.
ICTs remain the best tool we have today for advancing social and economic development and accelerating progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals and the WSIS targets.
The mobile revolution demonstrated that wireless technology could be used to accelerate the rollout of services to remote and underserved areas.
Today, the challenge will be to get broadband services into those same locations, and I am very encouraged by the wealth of new business models we are seeing emerging that will help us to do just that – from pre-paid mobile broadband, which is flourishing here in Africa, to new proposed broadband satellite coverage which aims to reach the ‘other three billion’ who still lack any kind of potential internet access.
Another important issue currently being pursued by ITU’s Member States is the migration of terrestrial TV broadcasting from analogue to digital, which will release some spectrum. ITU Members will have to decide on how best to use this ‘digital dividend’ in their development priorities, and it is therefore very important for African countries to work together to agree on a common position, as you prepare for next year’s World Radiocommunication Conference, WRC-12.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In conclusion, I would like to sincerely thank His Excellency, Minister José da Rocha, and through you the Angolan Government, for the invitation extended to me for this visit. This has given me a unique opportunity to come to Angola, and to Luanda in particular, and to enjoy your warm hospitality.
Allow me to take this opportunity to also thank the Angolan Government, institutions and people for the continuous interest and collaboration with ITU over the past few years.
I am informed by our regional office in Addis Ababa that our team of experts is currently in Luanda working with you on the ‘Roadmap to the Migration of Terrestrial Digital TV Broadcasting’, adapting the ITU guidelines on DTTB to Angolan needs. Let me assure you that we will do our very best to meet your expectations.
I am looking forward to continuing working with you to bring the unrivalled benefits of ICTs to all Angolans. You can count on ITU to support and accompany you all the way!