Egypt Hosted ITU’s Global Symposium for Regulators 2016 (GSR16) in Sharm El-Sheikh, May 2016

Under the Auspices of H.E. President Abdel Fatah El Sisi, Egypt represented by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) hosted this year’s ITU’s Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) which is the world’s pre-eminent ICT regulatory event, attracting experts from all corners of the world. It was officially chaired by H. E. Yasser ElKady, Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology and Chairman of NTRA Board of Directors.

The event runs from 12-14 May at Sharm el-Sheikh’s Maritim Jolie Ville International Congress Centre, with a special pre-event day on 11 May focusing on digital financial inclusion, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The overall theme for 2016 is: Be Empowered, Be Included! Building Blocks for Smart Societies in a Connected World.

With more than 550 delegates from around the world, the packed 3-day programme includes compelling discussions and debates around:
  • Artificial intelligence, smart sensors & smart networks
  • The regulatory road towards the ‘Internet of Things’ and M2M communications
  • New digital platforms – empowering or enslaving?
  • Privacy, trust and cybersecurity
  • Strategies to encourage digital entrepreneurship

The essential voice of industry is brought in through the Global Regulators-Industry Dialogue (GRID) component of the event, which gives both government and private sector participants the chance to debate pressing challenges, such as how to ensure infrastructure roll-out meets demand for fixed and mobile broadband services.

In GSR-16 opening, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao noted that GSR-16 is the first major regulatory event to be held since the global community agreed the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals in New York last September. “ICTs are the foundation upon which economic and social development can grow,” said Mr Zhao. “

Minister ElKady emphasized his country’s long-standing commitment to ICTs as a driver of development. “In Egypt we recognize the power of ICTs in achieving economic and social sustainable development, in transforming our citizen’s lives for good and in creating more connected global societies.”

In his opening address, Eng. Mustafa Abdul El-Wahed reinforced this message, telling assembled delegates that ICT services are an increasingly vital part of Egypt’s economy. "Due to the deep impact ICT has over the national economy and social life, the importance and indispensability of the telecommunications sector in Egypt has grown vividly"

Global Dialogue on Digital Financial Inclusion organized by ITU in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), the Government of Egypt and other partners. The event centered on driving a political dialogue between telecoms and financial services regulators from around the world on digital financial services (DFS) for financial inclusion.

The pre-event day on 11 May also saw a meeting of private sector Chief Regulatory Officers from the ICT industry, designed to facilitate discussion and information sharing among telecommunication service and technology companies, and frame debate during the symposium.
ITU also hosted a special meeting of Regulatory Associations, where delegates had the opportunity to discuss, share information network with regulatory colleagues from different national agencies to promote closer, more effective cooperation between Regulatory Associations around the world.

GSR-16 continued until Saturday 14 May, culminating in a series of regulatory Best Practice Guidelines. Outputs from the meeting will also be incorporated into ITU’s annual regulatory report, Trends in Telecommunication Reform.