By Emma Okonji
Nigeria’s candidate for the position of the Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr. William Ijeh, has called on communities across the globe to harness the powers of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in order to connect global citizens and to further drive development in their various communities.
Ijeh said his vision for the ITU community, if elected, would centre around the universal broadband connectivity for sustainable development.
According to him, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, the nations of the world entrusted the ITU’s BDT with a crucial responsibility to maximise the added value that ICTs can bring to sustainable development.
“Today, ICTs provide the essential connectivity for every aspect of sustainable development, such as universal education, improved health outcomes, ending hunger, business growth, access to finance and markets, and promoting social inclusion and environmental sustainability,” Ijeh said.
He promised to be committed to global ICT innovation and investment that is fully integrated with strategic planning for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve this, Ijeh said he would reposition the BDT to be at the service of all the ITU’s members and partners, with a governance framework of consultation, transparency and accountability, so that all can move forward together and no country is left behind.
“Central to this ambition, will be fostering public-private partnerships to make affordable broadband services available to all people,” Ijeh said.
He assured that he would do everything possible to ensure that BDT addresses all challenges through ubiquitous broadband access.
In his current position, Ijeh said he had delivered innovation and enhanced operational capability within high financial constraints, managing a budget reduction of more than 30 per cent, at the same time as increasing the ITU’s score languages from three to six.
His several years of experience in banking and development finance, gives him a valuable understanding of how private sector partners, assess infrastructure investment opportunities.
According to him, his broad-based priorities if elected, would include promoting global broadband access for development, promoting universal service, creating responsive regional presence, promoting efficient and effective resources, as well as promoting global cybersecurity agenda.
Ijeh with over 20 years’ experience in senior management roles at ITU, promised to widen consultation and partnership by increasing the number of participants in ITU meetings, among others.