ITU Africa Regional Development Forum held in Dakar, Senegal

RDF_AFRICA4The ITU Regional Development Forum (RDF) for Africa was held in Dakar, Senegal from 9-10 September 2015 under the theme “Delivering on Africa Regional Initiatives”.

The Forum was organized by ITU in collaboration with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Senegal and the Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU).

The Forum discussed in detail the five Africa Regional Initiatives approved by the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14) as well as providing members with an opportunity to exchange experiences and best practices in the implementation of the initiatives in the framework of the ITU Strategic Plan for 2016‐2019.

The Initiatives focus on the following areas: strengthening human and institutional capacity building, strengthening and harmonizing policy and regulatory frameworks, development of broadband access and its adoption; spectrum management and transition to digital broadcasting and building confidence and security in the use of telecommunications/ICTs.

During the Forum participants had the opportunity to share and discuss the achievements, experiences, work programmes and partnerships amongst ITU members and interested partners for effective implementation of WTDC-14 recommendations.

Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said, “increased access to telecommunication/ICTs will underpin Africa’s socio-economic growth and the promotion of regional and sub-regional integration.”

He added, “Extending the benefits of the digital economy to underserved urban and rural areas will require innovative regulatory reforms and strong public/ private partnerships.”

The Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Special Envoy on Gender, Mrs Geraldine Joslyn Fraser-Moleketi, said the Bank will continue to partner with ITU for the development of a vibrant telecommunications/ ICT sector on the continent.  She added, “connectivity in Africa is no longer the issue, rather how it can be used optimally to promote socio-economic development.”

Mr Abdoulkarim Soumaila, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) said the Organization was committed to working with ITU and Member States in the implementation of the five Regional Initiatives.

At the Forum, ITU launched a publication on the Africa Regional Initiatives. Mr Andrew Rugege, ITU Regional Director for Africa noted that, “the Regional Initiatives reflect the gaps and opportunities for Africa’s knowledge-based social and economic development. They are the building blocks to the development of innovative solutions to address the challenges Africa’s ICT sector faces.”

The RDF for Africa was the last in the series of Regional Development Forums for 2015. Similar events were held in Amman, Jordan, for Arab States; Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, for the Commonwealth of Independent States; Bucharest, Romania, for Europe; Cancún, Mexico, for the Americas and Bangkok, Thailand, for Asia and Pacific.

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