ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré announced in New York that worldwide mobile cellular subscribers are likely to reach the 4 billion mark before the end of this year.
Dr Touré was speaking at the high-level event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in New York, where he also participated in UN Private Sector Forums addressing the global food crisis and the role of technological innovation in meeting the MDGs.
The MDGs were adopted following the United Nations Millennium Declaration by UN Member states in 2000, representing an international commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat epidemics such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development that would include making available the benefits of information and communication technologies. ICTs have been recognized as an important tool to achieve the MDGs.
Since the turn of the century, the growth of mobile cellular subscribers has been impressive, with year-on-year growth averaging 24 per cent between 2000 and 2008. While in 2000, mobile penetration stood at only 12 per cent, it surpassed the 50 per cent mark by early 2008. It is estimated to reach about 61 per cent by the end of 2008.
"The fact that 4 billion subscribers have been registered worldwide indicates that it is technically feasible to connect the world to the benefits of ICT and that it is a viable business opportunity," said Dr Touré. "Clearly, ICTs have the potential to act as catalysts to achieve the 2015 targets of the MDGs." [More...]