Committed to connecting the world

ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

World Economic Forum (WEF 2013) 
Advancing the G20 Agenda
23 January 2013, Davos, Switzerland
Ladies and gentlemen,

This session is looking at critical issues confronting the global economy – and in particular how should the G20 countries respond to current global challenges?

We have successfully brought most of the world’s people within reach of mobile telephony:
  • 90% of the global population is now covered by a 2G signal;
  • Over 6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions;
  • Within two years there will be more mobile subscriptions than there are people on the planet.

The next big challenge is to bring all the world’s people online.

And here we still have a long way to go – we have done well in bringing Internet access to almost 2.5 billion people; we now have to bring the other 4.5 billion people online.

This is the only way to create the fair level playing field on which all people can compete equally.

This is essential if we are to hope for peace and security, globally.

The G20 cannot stand apart from the rest of the world:
  • In a globally interconnected economy, every country matters, not just the G20;
  • And more importantly, in a hyperconnected society we must all work together for the common good: rich and poor; developed and developing; public sector and private sector.

And this was what WCIT-12, which took place in Dubai last month, was all about: connecting the unconnected.

The new International Telecommunication Regulations chart a globally-agreed roadmap that promises to bring the digital era within reach of the 700 million people around the world who still don’t have mobile phone network coverage and the 4.5 billion people not yet online.

Connecting the unconnected is at the heart of what ITU does, and is fully-consistent with the significant role we have played in enabling the Internet – through standards, spectrum, fibre optic networks, satellites and much more.

And that’s what WCIT-12 was really all about – creating the right environment for telecommunications infrastructure investment and rollout, so that everyone can have access to the Internet.