The Chairman of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference
Your Excellencies, Heads of Delegations
The Secretary General of the ITU, and The Directors of the ITU
Ladies and Gentlemen
Greetings from the Government and the people of Ghana.
On behalf of my delegation, I convey our profound gratitude to the Government and people of Korea for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to us since our arrival.
Mr. Chairman, it is evident that the ITU is making significant impact on the promotion of ICT for Development and it is also true that it holds the key to the world's development and the promotion of global peace. In this regard, the delegation
of Ghana will not relent in our contribution to ensure that the ITU continues to exercise its mandate and lead the way through consensus building to help bridge the digital divide.
We should therefore strive to provide the Missing Link that was revealed in the Maitland Report. We also wish to remind ourselves that the landmark consensus achieved in the World Summit on the Information Society and the Action Plan adopted to build a truly inclusive global Information Community should continue to guide the ITU.
Mr. Chairman, we note that this Conference is being held at a time that Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa are reeling under a health emergency as a result of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus, with incalculable consequences on the economic fortunes of the countries within the sub-region.The panic of the Ebola threat is even leading to the isolation and stigmatization of the people of the sub-region particularly the affected countries.
The Ebola Viral Disease has reaffirmed how crowded our planet earth has become. It is threatening both developed and developing nations. The time to act, act swiftly and purposefully is now or never.
The solidarity of Member Administrations only provides comfort to the affected countries as there is still so much to do.
The entire world is equally taken by surprise as it has never experienced this EVD on such a scale. Ghana is therefore adding its voice to the Secretary General's call on this conference to consider and intensify efforts on how big data and ICT can support on-going programme of containment and treatment of the affected persons.
Ghana has not recorded a single case of Ebola Viral Disease. We have volunteered to host, AND WE ARE PRESENTLY HOSTING in Accra, the United Nations Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) led by the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN, Mr Tony Banbury.
As the ITU meets on the Ebola Viral Disease on the sidelines of this Plenipotentiary Conference we shall be ready and willing to share with you firsthand information on how ICT/Telecommunication is aiding the work of UNMEER in Ghana and the need to upscale other innovations including but not limited to the use of intelligent mapping techniques in the fight against the epidemic.
Mr Chairman, Excellencies, I am delighted to report that the ICT/Telecommunication sector in Ghana is indeed undergoing significant transformation. The WSIS targets are progressively being met through a well-focused and executed universal access programme that promotes the application of ICT to improve livelihoods, including its use to boost artisanal fishing and providing training to in-mates of prisons.
Indeed, it is the fastest growing sector, benefiting from increased investment, enhanced competition, improved regulatory oversight, determined policy application and above all, involving the participation of the citizenry and stakeholders in the policy implementation.
The partnership of the stakeholders has built confidence and trust in the management of the ICT sector resulting in consistency in the implementation of policy with substantial investment in broadband infrastructure to deliver e-Government services and other ICT applications in education, health, finance, commerce, justice etc.
It is therefore with satisfaction that we report that in compliance with the outcome of the World Telecommunication Policy Conference, the Ghana delegation reflects in its delegation, evidence of multistakeholderism in the composition of its delegation.
As a result of the investment in broadband, telephone service has surpassed 29 million subscriptions, which is nearly 111.2 percent tele-density and definitely very well ahead in meeting the targets of WSIS.
There has also been a proliferation of other value added services such as those supporting financial transactions and 4th Generation mobile broadband services. A country-wide terrestrial broadband programme covers all the Local Government District areas to support the deployment of high-speed Internet connectivity to all Public Offices, Schools and Colleges of Education, Hospitals, and Libraries.
The Public and the Private sector are separately but in a coordinated manner deploying 4th Generation LTE technology.
Ghana, supports ITU's emerging enhanced engagement with the relevant stakeholders within the Internet community to ensure the unfettered development of the Internet. In this regard, the issues to consider include the infrastructure requirements, capacity building, cyber peace and multistakeholder involvement in its governance.
Ghana urges the ITU to continue and intensify its work in the area of environment and Climate Change as well as Gender and Disability.
The youth of the world are our primary resource and as the Declaration of the World Youth Summit continues to reverberate in our ears, greater efforts should be made in involving them in ICT policy decision making. We commend the ITU and the City of Busan for introducing a Youth Programme in this Conference.
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Whiles we commend the outgoing Secretary General for his leadership, dedicated and selfless service, we also acknowledge the support of his hardworking officials.
In support of continuing the leadership role of the ITU in promoting global development and world peace, Ghana wishes to reassure this conference of its readiness to contribute its quota. Together with other members, Ghana will help empower the ITU to meet its objective to promote development and help bridge the digital divide.
Ghana remains an active and committed member of the ITU and would be honored to serve on the ITU Council for the period 2014 to 2018, with the kind support of this Plenipotentiary Conference.
Mr. Chairman, we accept that it is the responsibility of this Conference to sustain the awakened hopes and aspirations of the peoples of the world. The time for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals is drawing near and the challenge of the Information Society remains to be accomplished. The ITU demands our collective support.
We wish this conference great success. Thank you.