African Govts Challenge ITU over Hosting Rights


African governments have urged the Secretary General of ITU, Mr. Houlin Zhao to bring ITU Telecom World Conference to Africa, to enable African countries benefit from it.

The global conference and exhibition seek to address the telecommunication needs of member countries, which Nigeria is part of.

Minister of Communication and Postal Services for South Africa, Siyabonga Captain Cwete, who raised the concern about denial to the hosting rights among African countries at the ongoing ITU Telecom World Conference in Busan, South Korea, challenged Zhao to consider bringing the global telecoms conference to Africa in the coming year.

Since the inception of ITU Telecom World in 1971, up to its 40th anniversary in 2011, and the current 2017 event holding in South Korea, the African continent has never played host to the global event, a situation that is already raising concerns among African governments, including Nigerian government.

ITU Telecom is part of the International Telecommunication Union, which is the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). ITU
Telecom organises the global ITU Telecom World event, the platform for innovation showcasing, high-level debate, knowledge-sharing and networking for the governments, industry leaders, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and regulators that form part of the world’s ICT community, but Africans have been denied the hosting rights since its inception.

According to the South African Minister, “Now is the time for Africans to host the global event to enable African countries fully benefit from the fourth industrial revolution, that is knowledge driven. ITU in Africa will further boost technology development in the African continent and empower technology startups and small businesses to catch up with global trends, where technology is driving global advancements.”

Other African governments present at this year’s forum, supported the need to give Africans the opportunity to further explore technology by hosting the ITU Telecom World.

Responding to the challenge posed before him, Zhao said Africa has recorded tremendous improvement in ICT in the last few years and deserves to host ITU Telecom World. He however encouraged Africans to further develop in such a way that would attract the hosting rights. He said he would be glad to take ITU World conference and exhibition to Africa, when all preparations must have been concluded.