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5th Meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development

Dr Touré with Macedonian President H.E. Gjorge Ivanov and Prime Minister H.E. Nikola Gruevski at the welcome cocktail on 1 April.

Dr Touré signs the partnership agreement with John Davies, Vice-President of Intel’s World Ahead Program during the meeting of the Commission on 2 April.

1-2 April 2012, Ohrid, Macedonia

ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré joined Commission Co-Chairs H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Mr Carlos Slim Helu, President of the Carlos Slim Foundation, along with Ambassador Janis Karklins, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO and 18 Commissioners and high-level representatives, for the 5th meeting of the Commission, which was hosted by the Ministry of Information Society and Administration of Macedonia in the historic lakeside town of Ohrid.

Macedonian President H.E. Gjorge Ivanov and Prime Minister H.E. Nikola Gruevski presided over a welcome cocktail for participants and spoke of their country’s commitment to information and communication technology as a tool for social and economic development. Macedonia has already widely deployed free Wi-Fi nationwide, and has programmes in place to ensure that all schoolchildren from primary age have classroom access to computers and high-speed networks.

“This Commission is interested in what broadband can do in terms of empowering citizens, opening up new markets, and enabling vast numbers of small- and medium-sized enterprises to do business better and smarter in the 21st century,” said Dr Touré.

These sentiments were echoed throughout the day, with discussion not just on skills, but on employability; and not just on infrastructure, but on local content and local languages. “The Macedonian Prime Minister and Minister Ivanovski both touched on the extraordinary difference that broadband is making here, in this beautiful country, not just on the supply side, but also on the demand side too,” said Dr Touré in his closing remarks.

The meeting also featured the signing of an important new partnership deal with Intel’s World Ahead program comprising project funding and in-kind contributions.