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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG
Africa Region Preparatory Meeting for the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-12)
Durban, South Africa, 21-22 May 2012 Contact:

Opening Remarks by ATU Secretary general Mr. Soumaila Abdoulkarim
during the opening of the
 2nd African Group Preparatory meeting for
WTSA-12 and WCIT-12 -21/05


Your Excellency  Ms Dina Pule,  Minister of Communications, Republic of South Africa,
Malcolm  Johnson,  Director of Telecommunication Standardization Bureau,
Executive Director of the Departments of Communications,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure for me on behalf of the African Telecommunications Union to welcome you to this 2nd Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Africa region for WTSA and WCIT-12.

I would like to thank South Africa for hosting this meeting, and for the efforts they have made to make us feel welcome here in Durban.
I would like to express my gratitude to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for accepting to co-organize this preparatory meeting jointly with ATU.

It is now agreed by all that the current International Telecommunications Regulations, the ITRs, which were adopted in 1988, and which have served us well, need to be revised to reflect the significant changes that have taken place over the past 24 years.
As a result, WCIT will surely be the most significant conference convened by ITU for many years. It should bring some clarity to the international regulatory framework, which dates back to the founding of the Union in 1865, and which has regularly been updated through the predecessors of the current ITRs.  As we all know that some of the issues that will be considered  by the conference include among others:

The right to communicate, quality of service, security in the use of ICTs and the protection of national resources, taxation of international telecommunications services, international mobile roaming, accounting, and regulation, misuse and hijacking of international numbers, and interoperability. 
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen
The significance of this meeting, which is timely and essential, cannot be overemphasized. It gives us the opportunity to crystallize and consolidate our views on ICT development strategies ahead of the World Conference for International Telecommunication and WTSA scheduled for later 2012. Our discussions here will provide input for those two coming conferences and shape the future of ITU’s work in Africa.  It is imperative, therefore, that this preparatory meeting identify priority areas that need to be addressed to foster development of telecommunications and of information technologies in our countries.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is instructive to note that the African region especially Sub-Saharan Africa has made significant strides in the development of the telecommunications sector, but the region remains perhaps the world’s most challenging and least developed. The  preparatory meeting  itself as key opportunities to increase the already excellent collaboration between african countries, working together, can reach  new levels of economic  and social development by means of efficient telecommunication services. WCIT and WTSA will provide a great opportunity to help us to achieve that goal.
Let us make sure that we take this opportunity to make the ITRs relevant and valuable to the full African Countries with a clear idea of the way forward and a renewed commitment to Africa’s ICT development.


Thank you very much