Chairman of the ITU PP-14, Mr. Wonki Min
Secretary General of the ITU, Dr. Hamadoun Touré
Elected officials of the ITU
Heads of Delegations
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It gives me great pleasure to address this august meeting, the 19th Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU in this beautiful city of Busan. On behalf of my delegation, I wish to express our profound gratitude to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for the warmth hospitality accorded to us since our arrival. I further wish to give special mention to the courtesies afforded to my delegation by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Nairobi, Kenya. The arrangements demonstrated the detailed level of attention given to the organization of this conference, which I note with gratitude.
Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, for your election as chair of this conference, and the able stewardship you have demonstrated so far, which is an indication this meeting will be a great success.
Mr. Chairman, this Conference is taking place at an epoch of rapid evolution of telecommunication technologies and services, and also when the world is in dire need of solutions to narrow the gaps of exclusivity as well as inspire rapid growth in diversity of various ICT applications and services. I therefore see our vision "connect 2020" to be the slogan we should all individually and collectively endeavor to achieve.
My Government underpins the significant role ICTs play in the transformation of the socio-economic development of countries. Upon this recognition, my Government has placed high emphasis on the utilization of ICTs as a key enabler in converting Kenya into a middle income economy by 2030. The framework of realizing this dream commenced in earnest, in the year 2010 when the constitution, spelt out the need to have an independent regulator, that will catapult rapid development in the country's ICT sector. Chairman, to complement the public policy frameworks we have put in place, my Government is investing in infrastructure roll-out and other Government-driven ICT initiatives through public private partnerships. The independent regulatory framework established, has given rise to multiple players in the ICT space and subsequently, Kenya is now witnessing increased national and metropolitan fibre backbones and wireless broadband access networks. These efforts we believe, firmly place Kenya in a position to participate in the global information economy and is the most dramatic illustration of our country's proactive determination to roll-out ICT broadband infrastructure that will secure it as the hub for ICT businesses in the region.
My Government, through the development of a conducive legal and policy framework has inspired innovation from among the private sector players, which has brought about diversification in applications and extensive use of ICTs in Kenya. One such innovation for which my country is well known for among the ICT sector players is the mobile money transfer service code named M-PESA. This innovation has revolutionized the banking industry in Kenya, brought about high percentages of financial inclusion, and currently is playing a major role in the promotion of e-commerce in my country.
Mr. Chairman, my Government in partnership with the private sector players is now actively involved in developing innovative approaches in the delivery of public service. some of the projects already initiated towards achieving this objective include; the Presidential Digital Transformation project that has led to the creation of a Citizen portal dubbed Huduma Centre, that provides government services to all cadres of our citizens , the implementation of the National Digital Registry Services that creates a master database of all Kenyans to provide a platform for managing our demographics, and the Government Shared Services project that will enhance coordination and greater transparency in government.
Ultimately, Mr. Chairman, we need and should take advantage of PP-14 to develop pro-active and focused policy frameworks that will enable us achieve our objectives. For instance, we as policy makers can help drive the data market by making lower-spectrum bands available, promoting infrastructure sharing, providing rollout incentives, and reducing license fees for rolling out networks in rural areas. Operators must also, on the other hand, re-look at their operating models, by developing low-cost off-peak packages, scaling up compelling applications, and making data-enabled handsets available more cheaply. These measures, will boost the ICT revolution world-wide and move us much closer to Connect 2020.
Your Excellencies, honourable delegates, as unanimously agreed by ICT Ministers two days ago, it is imperative to recognize ICTs as key catalyst that can enable countries transform their economies and drive socio-economic progress. With a significant part of the world population still offline, indeed our job is well cut out. We, the global leaders in ICT have the task to harmonize policies, regulatory and legal frameworks in order to create a safe and inclusive global village.
The need to embrace forward-looking ICT policies cannot be overstated, especially as we approach the deadline to the realization of the millennium development goals and Connect 2020 agenda.
Let me reiterate that Kenya is committed to supporting the activities of the ITU and we will work closely with fellow member states to advance the global Digital Agenda. We have experiences, knowledge and expertise to share, and in that vein we humbly request for another opportunity to serve the Union on the Council and the Radio Regulations Board, roles that have always been a humbling delight for us.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, on on my own behalf and on behalf of my delegation, I wish to thank Dr. Toure for his excellent and dedicated service to the ITU both as Director of the BDT and Secretary General. I wish him well as he comes to the end of his term.
I thank you all for your attention.