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ICT African Investment Summit
Accra, Ghana
12 July 2007

Remarks by ITU Secretary General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

 

His Excellency Mr John KUFFOUR President of Ghana
His Excellency Prof. Mike OQUAYE Hon. Minister of Communications
His Excellency Engr. Albert BUTARE, Hon. Minister for Energy and Communications of Rwanda
Honourable Members of the Parliament
Honourable Ministers
Members of the Diplomatic Corp
Mr Shola TAYLOR CEO of Kemilinks
 
Distinguished participants
Ladies and Gentlemen
 
First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to His Excellency President John KUFFOUR, to the Government here represented by Professor Mike OQUAYE Minister of Communications and to the people of Ghana for their legendary hospitality extended to me since I landed in Accra.


The Government, once again have gone out of their way to welcome us with the authentic Ghana hospitality by facilitating this gathering of the African ICT leaders.
The 2007 session of the ICT AFRICAN INVESTMENT SUMMIT is taking place the year of the 50th Anniversary of the independence of Ghana and I would all of us to give a applause to Kwame Nkrumah one of the praiseworthy visionaries of Africa. This summit is also being held soon after the historical Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union that discussed the important issue of the United States of Africa.
 
To Kemilinks, in particular to my friend Shola TAYLOR and his team, I would like to say thank you for choosing Accra to hold this Summit and for the hard work for its preparation. The massive presence of the Africa ICT Family here in Accra makes this Summit a promise of success.
 
Honorable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,


The Telecommunication and ICT industry has witnessed tremendous progress over the past decade. One example is the number of mobile telephone lines that increased from 165 million in 1999 to nearly 1.4 billion by the end of 2005 in Africa. Out of the total 2.2 billion mobile subscribers worldwide in 2005, sixty three percent were in developing and emerging countries with Africa having the faster growth rate in the world.
 
The widespread deployment of mobile services in Africa is also the result of the African Government regulatory reforms combined with innovative business practices of the private sector.
For more than 140 years, the mandate of the ITU has been to connect the world.  Our Member States recognizes that ITU played and will continue playing a major role to extend the success of the mobile miracle to broadband internet access, and from there to next-generation networks, services and applications in Africa.


Several meetings took place the last 10 years seeking consensus on how to leverage the digital divide. Focus was permanently put in measures the Governments should put in place to foster development and create an environment to attract investors to the sector. The Geneva and Tunis World Summits and the World Telecommunication Development Conference recognized that from now on the priority for Africa is Investment in Infrastructure under the synergy of Governments and private.


ITU made an enormous contribution to assist African Governments in the creation of a favorable environment for investment in the ICT infrastructure. We continually assist our Members in creating an enabling environment for leveraging new technological development for low cost services and applications. Harmonization of policies and regulatory frameworks, as well as human capacity building for maintaining and ensuring sustainable development of ICT in Africa has been an ITU priority as well.


It is now the momentum to see substantial investments in the African ICT Infrastructure and I count on the private sectors to make these investments a reality.
 
Distinguished Delegates, ladies and Gentlemen,
 
I would like to take this opportunity to say few words on the “Connect Africa ITU Initiative” which I consider a value-added partnership for the development of ICT Infrastructure in Africa.
 
Connect Africa is a global multi-stakeholder partnership to mobilize the human, financial and technical resources to bridge major gaps in information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure across the continent and connect the region with the world. It aims at supporting affordable connectivity, applications and services to stimulate economic growth, employment and development throughout Africa.
 
Connect Africa will be launched at a Summit of leaders in Kigali, Rwanda, 29−30 October 2007, under the patronage of the President of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, and organized by the International Telecommunication Union, the African Union, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in partnership with the African Development Bank, the African Telecommunication Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
 
This collaborative effort seeks to involve various stakeholders active in the region, including the European Commission, G8, OECD, China, Arab countries, major ICT companies, the United Nations Development Programme and other international organizations and civil society, in particular the private investment stakeholders.
 
I invite all the participants to make the Accra ICT Investment Summit a preparation for the Kigali Summit.
 
I would like to conclude saying that I am confident that the exchange of experiences and knowledge will bring us new ideas and will help us finding viable and sustainable solutions to bridging the digital divide and fulfil the WSIS vision of building an inclusive, people-centred and development-oriented African information society opened to all.
 
Thank you for your attention.


 

 

 

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