INTERNATIONAL ICT CONFERENCE KICKS OFF

Minister CweleMinister Cwele and ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, were at the Inkozi Albert Luthuli International Conference Centre, Ethekwini, early this the morning to welcome guests to the ITU World Conference. The ITU World is being hosted for the first time in South Africa starting today, 10 September 2018, and will end of Thursday.

More than 7 000 guests are expected to converge in Durban for the start of the ITU World, where President Cyril Ramaphosa will today deliver the opening address.

South Africa, through the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, is hosting this year’s ITU Telecom World. This follows on previous ITU Telecom World Conferences in Bangkok in 2016, and Busan in 2017. The 2016 conference featured 173 speakers from 56 countries in the Leadership Summit and Forum. In total, 338 leaders from 90 countries attended, representing the public and private sector.

ITU Telecom World 2018 aims to focus international exposure on South Africa, and creating partnerships with players on the continent. The Conference will also feature high-level debates by Ministers, industry leaders and experts, as well as showcase global innovations, best practices and offer networking opportunities.

This is the first time that the ITU Telecom World will be hosted in Africa, and the Department aims to use this opportunity to position South Africa as a leading hub for ICT innovation, business innovation and research on the continent. It will also be an opportunity to promote a positive narrative about South Africa to a global audience.

ITU world 2018 is the biggest so far, and 7 000 people are expected to attend. It is an exhibition of solutions from around the World. Minister Siyabonga Cwele said the country is very honoured that so many guests have converged in South Africa where industry and government leaders will be sharing experiences on how to use digitisation for the betterment of society. “President Cyril Ramaphosa will be giving the opening address, and hosting the conference is critical as we are in the middle of a massive revolution that is driven by developments in ICT, science, engineering, robotics and artificial Intelligence.”

These developments, he said, are changing the lives of people everywhere. “We are honoured that the ITU has given us the privilege to host them, and that the African continent will not be left behind in these massive developments for better humanity.”

Secretary General of the ITU, Mr Houlin Zhao, said in 1998 ITU hosted the ICT Telecoms in Johannesburg, and twenty years later the organisation is very pleased to come to South Africa for ITU World. “In the last decade or so, Africa has seen very significant developments as far as ICT is concerned. Twenty years ago, Africa had the lowest density of fixed line telephones, and today the continent on telecommunications infrastructure Africa has improved. We are now talking about 5g technology in Africa, and to some extent Africa is leading in development and innovation.”