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BDT Director's Speeches

ITU Regional Development Forum for the Americas
Cancún, Mexico  14 July 2015

ITU Regional Development Forum for the Americas 

Cancún, México

Tuesday 14 July 2015



Mr. Brahima Sanou

Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)


Mr Andrés de la Cruz, General Director of Telecommunications and Broadcasting Policies at the Undersecretary of Communications

Mr Gabriel Contreras, President of the Federal Telecommunications Institute of Mexico, IFT

 Mr Clovis Baptista, Executive Secretary of Inter-American Telecommunications Commission CITEL

Mr Bruno Ramos, Regional Director of the Americas Regional Office

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to the Regional Development Forum for the Americas.

I would like to start by thanking the Secretary of Communications and Transport and IFT for the kind invitation to host the Regional Development Forum in this beautiful country.

I keep a very fond memory of Mexico since it is the country where I was elected Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. But the most lasting memory is the warmth and friendliness of its people, which is renewed every time I step on Mexican soil.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are living in an era of convergence of ICT infrastructure that leading to the convergence of services which is also bringing about the convergence of service providers.

The ICT industry has become broad and diverse, but more importantly it is changing so rapidly that it seems that the future is just today.

Under such circumstances, reporting back to the membership every 4 years at the occasion of the WTDC would not be effective enough.

It is against this background that I took the initiative in 2011 to make the Regional Development Forums (RDF) the platform for annual reporting to the membership at regional levels. The RDF is therefore part of our efforts to strengthen the ITU Regional presence by allowing annual regional reporting on the activities of ITU and also regional accountability.

The RDF is also an occasion to extend the conversation on development issues to other telecom/ICT multistakeholder who are not yet Members of ITU Development sector.

The RDF of this year, the first after WTDC, will focus mainly on Regional Initiatives and in the following years will include all the BDT programs.

As you are aware, the World Telecommunication Development Conference held in 2014 adopted five Regional Initiatives (RIs) for Americas Region.

Let me again say loudly and clearly that the Regional Initiatives have been and will remain my first priority and my main focus because it is through their implementation that we can make a difference in the lives of our people on the ground.

During this RDF, we will present the proposed implementation plan for all the Regional Initiatives with the purpose of getting your feedback to ensure that they meet your vison and aspirations. 

The Telecommunication Development Bureau of ITU strives to help its Members incorporate ICTs in every activity and in every sector of the society because we do believe that a truly inclusive information society means better education, improved access to medicine and health care, greater transparency and efficiency in governance and more importantly more equitable access to jobs and resources among many other opportunities.

As we work together to build an inclusive information society, we rely on your views, suggestions, ideas and feedback. The Regional Initiatives for the Americas confirm that the region continues to give priority to topics that present recurring challenges.

The strengthening of efficient emergency telecommunications systems is presented through Regional Initiative No 1 as a necessity in a continent that is recurrently affected by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. In implementing this Regional Initiative BDT will certainly help cross fertilize experiences across the regions and the continent.

The explosion of wireless services has transformed spectrum management from a highly technical subject, to a key factor for making policy decisions with economic and social consequences. In this regard, the Development Sector complements the work of the Radiocommunication Sector promoting support actions in developing spectrum management plans, and working with countries in developing inclusive strategies in digital broadcasting as you requested in Regional Initiative No 2.

Investments in infrastructure are facing a great challenge in a dynamic setting agitated for applications and services that have changed the basket of revenues for operators and service providers.

Providing broadband access to underserved urban and rural areas requires public policy decisions creative enough to be able to respond efficiently to new scenarios. It also requires public private partnership. The Development Bureau will provide the support, training and assistance required to bridge remaining access gaps as we implement Regional Initiative No 3.

Moreover, it is not the physical access the only aspect to be considered in our work together. You have identified the high cost of telecommunications services and, in particular, access to the Internet, as difficult barriers to overcome through Regional Initiative No 4. In this sense, our work will support the analysis of cheaper alternatives, including the development of national and regional points of interconnection that allow lower costs of traffic.


Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like now to make a reference to training. ITU carries out continuous and qualified work in training and education on ICTs. The inclusion of cybersecurity issues as well as the strengthened capacity to participate in Internet governance fora in Regional Initiative No 5, encourages us to continue working in the same direction.

In this juncture I would like to express my gratitude to Argentina for facilitating 20 Universities to become ITU-D Academia Members.

Distinguished participants Ladies and Gentlemen

It goes without saying that the implementation of the Regional Initiatives requires a true multi-stakeholder approach led by the governments of the region. We in the ITU Development Bureau will take the needful steps to extend our hands to all the stakeholders in the region and outside the region for the implementation of these initiatives.  

The holding of this RDF back-to-back with the Latin American Congress of Telecommunications 2015 is a clear indication of our commitment to work hand-in-hand with regional organizations, and all other stakeholders in order to build on our comparative advantages and avoid any duplication.

Before I conclude, I would like to reiterate my gratitude to the Government of Mexico and IFT for the strong support and their ongoing commitment to the work of the ITU and their enormous generosity.

I look forward to very fruitful discussions.

I thank you.