Speech from Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General

ITU TELECOM WORLD 2009: Joint Forum Closing
Geneva, Switzerland9 October 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We come to the end of a very successful ITU Telecom World 2009!

10 months ago many people urged me to cancel the event.  The financial crisis was in full swing, exhibitors were cancelling and attendance numbers were declining.

Encouraged by the unfailing support of Mr. Robert Hensler, and the State of Geneva, I dared to dream.

Working together with the entire management team of ITU, Mr. Zhao, Mr. Al-Basheer, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Timofeev, we forged ahead together to make this event a success.

I am so very pleased to say that the event has surpassed my expectations.  We had an unprecedented number of high level representatives, including heads of state and government, Ministers, CEOs, and many other VIPs from all regions.  We had participants from 186 countries – almost the full gamut of ITU’s 191 Member States.

The event was opened on Monday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and included an address, via video, from my long time hero, former South African President, Nelson Mandela.

On Tuesday, Mikhail Gorbachev joined us via video for the ICT@Green Forum session.

And the high-level addresses continued throughout the week.

This event was clearly different from any other Telecom.  The most different aspect of this Telecom is that it was all about dialogue and interactivity.  A CEO from a major ICT company mentioned to me, that what is so different in this Telecom is that no one is preaching solutions.  We have seen in the recent crisis that there is no perfect model, no perfect solution.  We may have thought we had one but this has all changed.  Countries and companies have come back to the table to discuss and rethink business models that had proved successful over previous years, but were no longer relevant. 

In the session yesterday with Ministers and CEOs on public private partnerships, one of the African Ministers noted, we should not call it “Public Private Partnerships, or “3 Ps”, we should actually call it “4Ps”, “Public, Private, People, Partnerships”, because in the end it is all about People.  Together we must work to connect all the world’s people.

I would now like to thank the State of Geneva, in particular Mr. Hensler.  Looking ahead to ITU Telecom World 2011, we are delighted to be working with Mr Robert Hensler’s team to put together an exceptional 40th anniversary event that will feature even more interactivity, more top-level debate, more exciting new technologies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you all of your active participation.  I would also like to thank all of the staff of the ITU for their tremendous efforts.

I would now like to pass the floor to my good friend, the Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Houlin Zhao who is also the acting Executive Director of Telecom.  Mr. Zhao has been working so hard to make this event a perfect success.  Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in applauding Mr. Houlin Zhao.