Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome you to the first of two Heads of State and VVIP
Roundtables on the occasion of ITU TELECOM World 2009. We are particularly
honoured to have with us today the President of Rwanda and the Prime Minister of
Lesotho, and a number of Ministers representing their heads of state.
We are honoured to have you here to share your unique perspectives on the
changes and challenges we face as we move towards a truly global information
The ITU has always been a pioneer. From the telegraphs of yesterday to the
high-speed mobile networks of today, ITU has endured through social, economic
and political changes, while facilitating cross-border cooperation and extending
the benefits of information and communication technologies to all of the world’s
The current economic downturn is no exception. ITU provides an ideal platform
for sharing knowledge on how to address the realities of the new economic
climate, particularly as information and communication technologies are seen as
vital to global recovery and growth.
This is why I have chosen the topic for this afternoon’s roundtable to be ICTs
and economic development. I look forward to hearing the visions and insights of
the leaders gathered around the table, and would like to express my personal
gratitude to them for sharing their time and experience with us.
Not only does the expansion and innovation of new ICTs stimulate economic
development, but they also broaden the scope of individual and social progress.
No one can deny that the presence of such technologies in daily life have
brought about tremendous benefits for health care, education, employment and
overall quality of life. It has enhanced access to knowledge and know-how on an
So why not take the opportunity that this presents us, and ensure that these
communication technologies have the widest possible reach, connecting all of the
world’s citizens in a safe and empowering manner? Why not use ICTs to help us
face this time of crisis head on?
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are here today, to debate these issues, through a focus on 5 key themes.
The first is the role of regulation and policy in
promoting the roll-out of infrastructure and stimulating investment.
The second is the importance of public-private
partnerships to address the gaps and inequalities in today’s information
The third is the issue of cybersecurity, and how global
efforts for tackling it can be meaningfully strengthened in light of current
The fourth is the recognition that innovation and
creativity are critical for providing opportunities for economic recovery
And last but certainly not least, is the need to enable
(through capacity building) all of the world’s citizens to participate in,
and benefit from, the knowledge-based economy.
Let’s get started.