The World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) is held every four years to review the progress made in telecommunication in developing countries and to establish priorities and strategies for the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs). It also serves to promote international cooperation and partnership to improve infrastructure and support telecommunication institutions.
The fourth WTDC took place in Doha, Qatar, from 7 to 15 March 2006. It was the first time a WTDC was held in an Arab country. 1,200 top-ranking representatives from governments, the private sector, regional and international organizations attended it.
One of the purposes of the conferences was to find methods of bridging “the Digital Divide between developed and developing countries that is created by the rapid but uneven expansion of ICTs. Another objective of the conference was to promote cooperation and partnerships that can sustain and strengthen telecommunication infrastructure and institutions in developing countries” (ITU).
Several regional preparatory meetings were held during 2005, where all key stakeholders review the development needs and priorities of the region, identify issues that need to be addressed to boost telecommunication development and decide current and future initiatives and projects that can help bridge the Digital Divide.
Regarding the Arab region, NTRA, as an integral part of the Egyptian sector, participated in the Arab preparatory meetings and presented a document on behalf of the Arab Network for Regulators (ARNET) discussing the main developmental issues and the regulatory framework required to further develop the sector in the Arab region.
Furthermore, an Africa Region preparatory meeting was held in Abuja, from 5-7 July, 2005. To continue ensuring an effective African contribution to WTDC-06, the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), with the support of the ITU Regional Office for Africa, is holding an experts’ meeting from 9-10 February, 2006, in Nairobi, Kenya, which NTRA experts are invited to attend.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and endorse African Common Proposals for the WTDC, including the outcomes of the Abuja preparatory meeting that was held from 5-7 July, 2005, the outcomes of the WSIS, the ARAPKE and other regional and continental initiatives and projects.
Currently, a report is being prepared as the background document for the meeting, which includes:
• A summary of the outcomes of the Africa Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM), in the form of 3 or 4 consistent regional projects;
• Additional regional projects building on the WSIS outcomes and the ARAPKE;
• Additional draft African Common Proposals building on the outcomes of RPMs held in other regions and on the proposals/contributions already submitted by ITU-D Member States and Sector Members;
• Proposals for cancellation or modification of resolutions and recommendations from the WTDC-02 (Istanbul);
• Proposals of new draft resolutions and recommendations, as appropriate.
This meeting will be the conclusion of the evolution of African Common Positions for this important ITU conference which will adopt working programmes for the period 2007-2010.