Ladies and gentlemen,
It is indeed a pleasure for me to address you this morning on
the occasion of the opening of “The New Asia Africa Strategic
Partnership/NAASP’s Workshop in Satellite Technology and its
I would like to congratulate the Government of Indonesia for
graciously hosting this very important event. The decision to
hold this event in Jakarta could be no better since as we all
know, Indonesia is one of the first developing countries to
operate its own domestic satellite system in the mid seventies.
Indonesia therefore is in a position to contribute to the
success of the partnership and of this event.
I also commend the Asian-African senior officials particularly
those who are involved in organizing this event for following
through the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership launched by
the its leaders in 2005 with the aim to promote peace, progress
and cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two regions. I am
pleased to know that information and communication technology
has been identified as one key area under this partnership.
There is no doubt that ICTs can be a powerful instrument,
increasing productivity, generating economic growth, job
creation and employability and improving the quality of life for
all. ICTs are bridges to a better life and promote
dialogue among people, nations, regions such as Asia and Africa
The focus of the next two days on Satellite Technology and its
Applications is indeed very timely. As we all know, satellites
are used extensively for many years for television, radio,
telephony, data communication, other services such as weather
mapping and forecasting and applications such as satellite-based
e-learning, e-health and e-agriculture. Satellites, by their
nature, can do things that other technologies cannot.
Satellite network can provide turnkey solutions. It has the
potential to get around all the problems associated with
reaching people in remote and rural areas and helping them
connect across unimaginable distances.
Asia as a region is huge and diverse. It is on one hand,
at the forefront of technical innovation, spearheading the roll
out of the latest technologies. On the other hand,
however, a significant proportion of countries in the region are
still struggling to provide affordable telecommunication
services to its citizens. While three of the top ten
economies with highest digital access index come from Asia, a
significant number of countries belong to low-access economies.
ITU estimates that 45 per cent of Sub-Saharan villages are
covered by a signal in 2006 – although only 7 percent of rural
households are estimated to subscribe to mobile services.
Less than 3 per cent of Sub-Saharan villages had fixed line
service, while under 0.5 per cent of them had a public internet
facility. As you may also know, the Connect Africa Summit was
organized by ITU in Kigali, Rwanda last month where leaders
committed to accelerate the implementation of the World Summit
on the Information Society Plan of Action and the UN Millennium
Development Goals. African leaders showed their willingness to
collaborate with partners and set common goals for connectivity
within Africa and with the rest of the world.
Telecommunication satellites have an obvious role to play in
connectivity and bridging the digital divide which is still wide
within countries and among countries in Africa and Asia. I am
also aware that the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership
covers three broad areas of partnership – political solidarity,
economic cooperation and socio-cultural relations. The
objective of your meeting to enhance cooperation on satellite
communication in Asia and Africa is indeed relevant
as it is a means to achieve and cuts across these three
Despite differences between countries in the region and between
the two regions, there are countries in Asia and Africa that are
pioneers and world leaders in satellite communications in such
areas as manufacturing, launching services, satellite-based
applications and their related human expertise.
For example, China has manufactured and launched into orbit its
national as well as foreign satellites, recently for Nigerian
Communication Satellite NIGCOMSAT- 1. India and Russia have
signed a lunar exploration agreement to jointly develop a
robotic orbiter and lander that would be launched in 2013.
Japan’s JCSAT established a satellite based network for Remote
Medical Treatment. Malaysia’s School Net Program is providing
satellite broadband services to more than ten thousand schools
throughout Malaysia, many of them outside the reach of wireline
and wireless infrastructure. In Africa, the Minister of Science
and Technology stated that “South Africa has the skills and
facilities to become a leading participant in the global space
I am certain that with these developments in place, cooperation
and joint activities on satellite communication within nations
in Asia and Africa will not be farfetched.
ITU has a number of programmes and activities that aim to assist
our Member States and Sector Members expand ICTs throughout the
world and promote capacity building to advance, through the use
of information and communication technologies, the achievement
of national, regional and the internationally agreed development
I invite all of you to actively participate in our work and
continue to be forward-looking to meet the challenges of
I wish you a successful meeting.