GLOBAL SYMPOSIUM FOR REGULATORS
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 12 May 2016
Opening Speech by Brahima Sanou
Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)
His Excellency Engineer Yasser ElKady, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Chairman of the Board of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and Chairman of GSR-16
Eng. Mustafa Abdul Wahed, Acting Executive President of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Egypt;
Mr. Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General
Mr. Abdoulkarim Soumaïla, Secretary General of African Telecommunications Unions ATU;
CEOs of National and regional regulatory agencies;
All other High Dignitaries here present;
Ladies and gentlemen;
It is my great pleasure and privilege to welcome you to the 16th annual Global Symposium for Regulators, here in this beautiful city of Sharm el-Sheikh held under the auspices of H.E. Abdel Fatah El Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
I would like first and foremost to thank His Excellency Engineer Yasser Al Kadi for his usual strong support to the ITU and for having honored us with his presence here.
I thanks also go to Eng. Mustafa Abdul Wahed, acting Executive President, National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Egypt, and his whole team for making this event possible.
Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,
Ten years ago, Broadband, Convergence of Networks and Services and Next-Generation Networks were already at the center of our discussions.
Today, our world is still evolving, and telecommunications and ICTS are increasingly recognized as the foundation of economic and social development.
Our digital connected world is changing faster and faster– some even call it the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Innovation is taking place everywhere and at all levels. Driverless cars are a reality. So are mobile applications, smart grid, smart water and smart cities just to name a few.
New players and new stakeholders are changing the ICT sector to an ICT ecosystem. Consumers are becoming active players in this ecosystem and becoming themselves entrepreneurs, content producers, and investors.
We are witnessing impressive growth in infrastructure and connectivity globally. More than 140 countries have deployed 4G networks, and 5G promises to open new opportunities and boost the commoditization of the Internet of Things and cloud services.
The deployment of fiber backbones and developments in satellite technologies, solar powered drones and balloon technology represent further opportunities to connect people around the world.
We are very happy to be here in Egypt, where the national ICT strategy, under the High patronage of H.E. President Al-Sisi, provides that access to information and telecommunications services at affordable prices is a right for all citizens, including Persons with Disabilities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
What is absolutely true today is that no one and no sector can imagine life without ICTs. Just think of health, finance, education, electricity, and transportation as well as tourism, music, media, and sports!
All the untapped potential that is still to be discovered and the brilliant young minds, the digital natives, are our main assets.
In building smart societies, policy makers, regulators, private sector and all stakeholders need to establish an inclusive dialogue to foster an enabling regulatory environment across all sectors in order to put a human face on ICTs and tap into their potential for sustainable development.
We need to move from vertical policies and regulations to collaborative policy and regulation to build smart societies.
This year GSR will shed light on financial inclusion. It is estimated that more than 2 billion adults - mostly in developing countries - are considered "financially excluded".
On the other hand we have more than 7.2 billion mobile subscriptions. So the critical mass of infrastructure is there and the platforms are up and running.
What is needed is collaborative regulation between the ICT sector and financial and banking systems as we discussed yesterday during the pre-event on Global Dialogue on Digital Financial Inclusion.
The Global Symposium for Regulators is helping us create the building blocks of this smart society we all want to live in during our lifetimes and sustain for future generations.
This reminds me of an old proverb that says "We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children".
Let us play our part to facilitate the attainment of the Sustainable Development and build a better future for our people.
I thank you very much.