ITU Telecom Africa

Egypt has successfully organized and hosted ITU Telecom Africa 2008 for the third time in its history. The event was held in the Cairo International Conventions and Exhibitions Center in the period from 11- 15 May 2008. The event has constituted a remarkable milestone in the international circles of Telecommunication, Information Technology, Investment and Economy.

ITU TELECOM AFRICA has always been a lively forum that brings together leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss the key technological and strategic issues of the industry as a whole. It also offers a unique networking platform for all stakeholders involved in the development of the African continent through ICT solutions. Egypt has previously hosted ITU Telecom Africa 1994 and 2004.

The Forum at AFRICA 2008 came under the theme “ICTs in Africa: A Continent on the Move”. More than 40 ministers, CEOs and regulators from all over Africa and the world took part in the forum. Participants addressed the several ICT issues including the position of Africa today in terms of ICT infrastructure and users’ access to new communication technologies, the challenges and opportunities implied and solutions available through public private partnerships, innovative technologies and entrepreneurship. It also shed the light on some of Africa’s most dynamic drivers for new usages and innovation: mobile wireless infrastructure, m-payments, and m-commerce.
The Exhibition at ITU Telecom Africa encompassed more than 200 exhibitors from more than 40 countries. About 7000 visitors from more than 75 countries visited the exhibition which was divided into national pavilions. The exhibition displayed worldwide ICT innovations, trends, products and achievements.

Egypt’s Pavilion focused on the efforts of developing and nourishing SMEs as well as demonstrated Egypt’s efforts in promoting the Internet through enhancing broadband penetration
The Telecommunication Development Symposium addressed three main issues namely,

·         Mobile: participants discussed the possibilities of applying new broadband tehcnologies in the light of the increasing growth of mobile networks and applications and the extending mobile coverage across the continent and the faster download speeds.

·         Regulation for Development: discussions focused on the need to have a second wave of regulatory measures to unleash widespread, affordable access to broadband ICT services for all.

·         Convergence: participants discussed the impact of convergence, which is implying a cohesion between national legislation and regulatory foundations as well as between different services and networks.

During the Youth Forum, more than 100 young people from all over the world gathered to discuss the different tehcnological, regualtory and financial issues related to ICTs.

ITU Telecom Africa was honored this year with the inauguration of His Excellency President Hosni Mubarak and the presence of their Excellencies Dr. Ahmed Nazief the Prime Minister of Egypt and the ministers of Defense, media, investment, education, high educaton, and scientific research. More than 40 ICT ministers from all over the world took part in the event that witnessed a presentation from His Excellency Dr. Tarek Kamel the Egyptian ICT minister for the main pillars of the conference and the exhibition. Dr. Kamel also explained the steps that Egypt has taken to develop the ICTs and the potentials of regional and international cooperation in this regard.

His Excellency President Hosni Mubarak launched the Egyptian Education Initiative, which is one of the main priorities of the Egyptian government in the coming era. Development of Education was one of the main items of the electoral campaign of President Mubarak and one of the top priorities of the MCIT ICT Strategic Plan.
The event also witnessed the celebration of the World Information Society Day, which is celebrated annually on 17th May. The theme of the Day this year was “ICT for the Disabled” and the potentials provided by the ICTs to help them overcome the challenges that face them. The ITU has chosen Her Excellency Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak to grant her the award of the year as an appreciation for her achievements and contribution in supporting women, children and the youth as well as the disabled.

One of the main landmarks of the event was the meeting of the m-money which was held on the margin of ITU Telecom Africa. The meeting was attended by 200 officials from institutions of financial services, mobile service providers, development organizations, solution providers, regulatory organizations and policy makers.
The meeting shed light on issues related to m-money and means of overcoming strategic, executive and regulatory challenges that impede the effective growth of m-money services.

On the other hand, the GSM association chose Egypt for the Governmental Leadership Award for 2008. His Excellency Dr. Tarek Kamel received the award which came as an appreciation for Egypt’s achievements in areas of regulatory legislations and policies that regulate the work of mobile operators.

It is worth mentioning in this regard that mobile subscribers in Egypt have increased last year to stand at 10 millions, which marks an unprecedented increase in the penetration rates of mobile usage.

ITU telecom Africa 2008 has also witnessed the inauguration of the new headquarter of the ITU Arab Regional Bureau at the Smart Village. The bureau was inaugurated by their Excellencies Dr. Tarek Kamel, the minister of ICT and Dr. Hamdoun Touree, the Secretary General of the ITU and a number of African ICT ministers.

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