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Confronting the crisis: ICT stimulus plans for economic growth
Dr Hamadoun Touré
photo credit: ITU/J.M. Ferré
Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
ITU Secretary-General
ITU Telecom World

ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009, taking place in Geneva on 5–9 October, comprises a major Exhibition and Forum. The event will bring together some 20 Heads of State and Government and top-level executives from the information and communication technologies (ICT) industry. In addition, more than 300 exhibitors will showcase their latest products and services, alongside national and regional pavilions. And the activities of young people regarding ICT will be the subject of a Youth Forum.

Under the broad theme of “ICT for economic recovery and sustainable development,” the Forum will focus on topics that range from “Technology foresight”, “New Regulatory Models” and “Cybersecurity” to “ICT and climate change”.

Last autumn, I commissioned a report to monitor the impact of the financial crisis on ITU’s membership — both governments and industry. At TELECOM WORLD 2009, we will issue our second report, entitled “Confronting the Crisis: ICT Stimulus Plans for Economic Growth.”

The report notes that, although some analysts are now cautiously optimistic, it is likely that economic aftershocks will continue for some time, whilst structural adjustments take place. The report examines how policy-makers can respond, including the role of ICT in governments’ economic stimulus plans. Should investment in broadband networks form an essential part of such plans? And what are the implications for developing countries and the digital divide? It is important to address these and other important issues, as the policy choices made now will determine how much nations benefit from next-generation technologies.

This crisis has also revived debate about the doctrine of the free market. It has reawakened discussion of the role of government in helping to build infrastructure, as well as the meaning of Keynesian demand management in a globalized era. These debates are very relevant to the ICT industry as it seeks to migrate to networks based on the Internet Protocol (IP).

ICT have a unique power to boost productivity and generate economic recovery. They are crucial to the future success of businesses worldwide. I look forward to exploring the ICT landscape and to high-level debates on the exciting range of topics on the ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009 agenda.


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