ITU will hold the Connect CIS Summit in Minsk,
Belarus, on 26–27 November 2009. The event is expected
to attract leaders of government and industry
from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
and from around the world, as well as international
and regional financing and development agencies.
Its objective is to mobilize the human, financial and
technical resources needed to support a rapid transition
to the digital infrastructure and services that are
widely recognized as the engine of future economic
growth. Priorities include rolling out broadband
Internet access, expanding rural connectivity, creating
a regulatory environment to support investment,
enhancing ICT training, and creating locally relevant
applications and services.
The summit will be held under the auspices of
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. He said
that his country decided to host the event “recognizing
that the sharing and creation of knowledge contributes
significantly towards strengthening economic
and social development, both at the national and
regional levels”. The President added that “Belarus is
striving to strengthen and maintain its leading role in
the development of information and communication
technologies (ICT) in the CIS region”.
On the summit programme will be high-level panels,
round table discussions and networking sessions,
as well as announcements of new partnerships.
The event will be televised and made available
via webcast. A ministerial meeting will be held on
25 November, ahead of the Summit.
Highlighting the collaborative approach of the
summit, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré
said that “in this period of global economic turbulence,
it is all the more important that all partners
should work together to leverage the power of ICT
for social and economic development”. Director of
the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau
Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid commented that “while
the CIS region enjoys significant mobile phone coverage,
we are convinced that more can be done by partners
to expand ICT access and use, with an emphasis
on developing affordable broadband Internet infrastructure
and services to support the ever-growing
demand for business and government applications”.
The Connect CIS Summit will be held in conjunction
with the CIS Regional Preparatory Meeting
for the forthcoming World Telecommunication
Development Conference in 2010. The meeting takes
place on 23–24 November 2009.