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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

ITU Telecom World 2011
Press Conference

25 October 2011, Geneva, Switzerland

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Opening Press Conference of ITU Telecom World 2011 – the 40th anniversary edition of the most important international event in the ICT calendar.

Anyone who has been to earlier editions of this event will see some quite radical changes here this week – the most important of which are the hugely increased levels of inclusion and interactivity.

One example of this is the opening up of the whole event to remote participants, including tens of thousands of schoolchildren all over the world who will be taking the opportunity to engage directly with the high-level participants here on-site.

Another example is the Digital Innovators’ completion, which will showcase the best ideas from the hundreds of entries we received from 24 countries on five continents – and will award prize money as seed funding to the best ones.

I’d also like to draw your attention to the Digital Cities conference, which will explore the best ways ICTs can be used to address the challenges of urbanization in the 21st century; the highly dynamic Forum debates, which have already started; and the Broadband Leadership Summit which finished earlier today, and which you’ll hear more about in a moment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, in conjunction with the ITU Telecom World 2011 event, we are launching ‘The World in 2011’ publication, which provides new data and statistics on global ICTs, including estimates for the end of this year.

What the publication reveals is that ICT growth continues apace, and that by the end of 2011 there will be close to six billion mobile cellular subscriptions globally, and around 2.3 billion people using the Internet.

Growth is fastest amongst the young, and in the developing world.

Almost half of the world’s online population is now under 25 years old, and we can expect that number to increase as Internet penetration continues to grow in schools.

The developing world has seen its share of the world’s total Internet users grow from 44% five years ago to 62% today, and Internet penetration grow by over 50% in three years – from 13% in 2008 to 20% in 2011.

The Internet continues to go mobile – and this is likely to help increase Internet take-up rapidly in the developing world.

A total of 159 economies worldwide have launched 3G services commercially and the number of active mobile-broadband subscriptions has grown to almost 1.2 billion in the space of five years.

Compare that to the 125 years it took from the granting of the telephone patent to Alexander Graham Bell to reach the first billion telephone lines. Or the 11 years it took from the launch of GSM to reach the first billion mobile cellular subscriptions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The ‘World in 2011’ gives you a snapshot of the shape of the ICT world today. And this event – here in Palexpo this week – will help us shape the world of tomorrow.

I would like to encourage each and every one of you to play your part in shaping that future:

Interact with the participants;

Take part in the polls;

Send in your questions through the social media channels we have set up;

Send in your recommendations to the ‘Knowledge Hub’ about how we can get closer to a fully-connected world – and see your contributions in the event’s main outcome, the ‘Manifesto for Change’.

In short let me challenge you to challenge us, and be part of the narrative!

Thank you.