Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

ITU Telecom World 2012

 Opening Ceremony 

 Opening speech


14 October 2012, Dubai, UAE

Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a real pleasure and great honour to welcome you to ITU Telecom World 2012. Particularly, and I emphasize, particularly, because it is being held in this magnificent and futuristic Dubai – which also happens to be among the best connected cities in the world.

When I walked through the exhibition hall yesterday, I must confess that my attention was immediately drawn by the diversity of exhibitors. It gave me this feeling of satisfaction that ITU is a truly non-exclusive organization that has over the years managed to rouse the enthusiasm of the developed, and developing countries alike, bringing benefits to both governments and private sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am excited. Excited: because the future that lies before us is a promising one. It is characterized by change as the only constant! Yes, the ICT sector is constantly changing thus bringing with it exciting new inventions, products and services born of old and new players alike. While I am still at it, let me say that in recent times, I have not met anybody who questions the dynamism of sector.  It happens all the time with so much certainty that talking about it is like saying the sun will rise in the east tomorrow! Mobile broadband, M2M, cloud computing, fibre optic broadband, and social networking define today’s landscape. What is the end result? The answer is simple: 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions and 2.3 billion Internet users. Indeed, the stage is set for a technology-driven life experience! So then, what exactly does our industry promise for tomorrow?

A LOT! ITU has set the standards for next-generation mobile technology – IMT-Advanced – that sets the stage for new user experience and drama in terms of easy access, speed, and increased maximum throughput.

AND THERE’S MORE: We are laying the groundwork for lower energy consumption, better coverage with lower outage probability, high bit rates in larger portions of the coverage area, and much cheaper traffic fees due to low infrastructure deployment costs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our aim therefore is to roll out broadband networks to every corner of the world. Because we believe that cutting edge technology is the best way not only to connect the world, but to use the transformative DNA of ICTs in improving, creating, and innovating ICT solutions for a better, brighter and prosperous tomorrow which will no doubt give birth to a truly Knowledge-based Information Society.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let us for a moment look into the future. I foresee, those regions which are currently least wired in this world becoming fully connected with cutting edge WIRELESS technologies in less than five years’ time. Mobile will continue to rein supreme thanks to the miracle of wireless technology. Today’s least developed countries are the new Eldorado of opportunities for the willing investor as most of the developed markets have become saturated. I see a world of opportunities and choice.

While it is one thing to bring connectivity to the entire world’s people, it is quite another to put all this connectivity to good use.
  • Good use in leveraging the benefits of e-health, e-education, e-services and e-government;
  • Good use in being able to access,  use, create and share information and knowledge freely;
  • And good use in addressing the foremost challenges of our times – which include meeting the Millennium Development Goals; global long-term sustainability; and of course combatting climate change.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I call upon all of you – government leaders, business leaders, operators, regulators, and technology companies – to be courageous in setting out this brave new broadband world. But how?
  • Operators must invest in infrastructure and create new services.
  • Regulators must adapt to the new broadband environment.
  • And government leaders must dream Big. Your BIG vision is needed to set the tone for the future.
  • Above all, it is the individuals – like the young innovators gathered here this week – who shape the new technologies that will transform the world for the better.
Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me end with these words: The networked world – both physical and virtual – is with us thanks to the success of science and technology. We now have the means to eradicate poverty, combat climate change, predict disasters, improve education and agriculture, and provide timely primary healthcare. Without this, technology remains merely a tool with unexplored potential to better our lives.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Together, over the next few days here in Dubai, we will be able to explore the nature of this transformation – and the many opportunities and challenges it presents. 

I thank you for your attention.

And now, I would like to take this opportunity to convey to you a message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to all of us at ITU Telecom World 2012:

Excellencies Ladies & Gentlemen

ITU Telecom World once again brings into focus the importance of communications in meeting the global challenges of the day, from sustainable development and climate change to insecurity and intolerance.

Information and communication technologies are among the engines of economic growth and development, and can play a transformative role in improving people’s lives.

More than two billion people are connected to the Internet.  With six billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, and the increasing availability of mobile broadband, we have an opportunity to use the reach of mobile connectivity to empower people with information and knowledge.

I am pleased that global thought leaders meeting at ITU Telecom World will seek to harness the power of smart technologies to find new approaches and solutions for a sustainable future, such as enabling a low-carbon economy, monitoring the earth, providing assistance in disaster relief, improving health care and advancing agricultural productivity.

ITU Telecom World also brings welcome attention to megatrends such as ageing populations, the emergence of new economic and industrial powers, and a plethora of new technologies that are dramatically changing the way we live, learn, entertain ourselves and do business.

I wish you every success at ITU Telecom World.  Thank you for your commitment to building a more just, prosperous and peaceful world.