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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

BDT Director's Speeches

Opening remarks
Kampala, Uganda  15 April 2013

Excellences Ministers
CEOs in this thriving market of East Africa
Distinguished participants
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me first congratulate you, honorable Minister and through you the Government and people of Uganda for hosting this auspicious event and for the very warm welcome extended to us. My thanks also go to EACO for organizing this ICT conference on Broadband Access to All in East Africa not only important by its stated agenda but also the line-up of speakers and experts.
Broadband Access, your subject matter for the conference is well-chosen as the Broadband revolution is now to a large extent, irreversible. The collective will of ITU membership is that Broadband no longer be an elitist concept or a bunch of fiber and copper cables with capacity measured in gigabits, but a tool and medium for every citizen to access boundless information, goods and services online, not only through restrictive office-bound desktop computers but indeed trough tablets and smart phones in the “cloud”!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests
You may know that Broadband ranks high among ITU’s areas of action which also include Accessibility, Climate Change, Cybersecurity, transition from Analog to digital broadcasting, Emergency Telecommunications, Youth and Innovation, and Women and Girls in ICT.
The Broadband Commission endorsed new Broadband targets and issued a “Broadband challenge” pertaining to accessibility, affordability and penetration. It is in this regard that we at ITU have worked tirelessly to address these challenges and to assist member states to meet these targets. It is also in an attempt to make ICT and Broadband in particular meaningful to ordinary citizens that towards the end of last year I launched three pertinent initiatives:
• The m-powering Development initiative, a framework through which the now over 6 billion mobile devices can be used with mobile applications to fuel development from the hands of ordinary people.
• The Smart Sustainable Development Model initiative, ensuring we can stand ready for emergencies but not idle for development by using “off-peak” availability of emergency communication infrastructure for development.
• The ITU Academy initiative, to boost ICT and information literacy as a tool for working; providing a researched body of knowledge, information and skills development online.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests
These initiatives come to complement projects and Regional Initiatives already underway. Notable among these are the Harmonization of ICT Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa (HIPSSA), a partnership project of ITU and EU under which Regional Model Laws have been drafted and are now being transposed into National Legislations. Among these laws are the Cybersecurity, personal data protection and online transaction laws.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished guests
Among our Regional Initiatives is the support of the goals set at the Connect Africa Summit in 2007. I would like to congratulate you on the Broadband achievements since then. Most African cities and major towns as well as a sizeable number of villages are connected on Broadband.
I am pleased to announce that as a follow-up to the Connect Africa summit, the Government of Rwanda, the ITU and other partners will hold the TransformAfrica Summit in Kigali, October 28 to November 1, 2013.
Distinguished guests
Next month, we shall be in Addis Ababa where the African Union will be celebrating 50 years since the creation of the Organization of Africa Unity, now African Union. The chosen theme is “PanAfricanism and African Renaissance”. There is nothing that signifies Africa’s renaissance more than the promise of Broadband to bring services closer to citizens, to enable trade, economic development and regional integration, to facilitate social services or to ensure that every child gets top quality education and reliable health services to make him/her as digital a native as any child of a developed country.
I am confident that the deliberations at this conference will lay important foundations for East Africa to bring the benefits of Broadband to each of your citizens.
I wish you a fruitful meeting.
Asante Sana