Kenya has challenged the African continent to unite and speak with one voice at global ICT decision-making forums.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru cited lack of a common stand on issues of interest as having hurt the continent in the past, slowing the pace of ICT development.
‘‘The outcomes of our past failings at negotiations speak for themselves. Africa today is ranked at the bottom of virtually all economic indicators relative to other regions of the world,’’ said Mr.Mucheru.
Mr. Mucheru noted that the continent must rise to the challenge and seize the moment to leverage on the global digital revolution fuelled by ICTs to turn around her fortunes.
‘‘If we do not shape up, we clearly stand to lose out in the unfolding fourth industrial revolution, which is driven largely by ICTs,’’ observed Mr.Mucheru.
Speaking during the 4th African Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 2018 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference, Mr.Mucheru said that despite the challenges, Africa’s still sill has a huge potential to fully exploit the benefits of ICTs.
‘‘Statistics show that Africa is the world’s second largest mobile market by connections after Asia and the fastest growing mobile market globally,’’ said Mr.Mucheru.
He called on the delegates to focus on policies that allow new technologies to thrive so that Africa can harness the potential that these technologies portend.
CA chairman Mr.Ngene Gituku said efforts to have the continent article issues of common interest have often been hampered by geographical, political, and sometimes religious differences
‘‘This forum, therefore, must help us find compromises on matters of mutual interest for articulation at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference scheduled to take place later in the year. Africa must speak with a united voice at this important meeting,’’ said Mr. Gituku.
According to the ATU Secretary General Mr.Abdoukarim Soumaila, said the agency will continue to marshal the continent to support member states through a coordinated approach in all activities of the ITU.
CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi said a common African approach was possible if countries embraced the principles of growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation and collaboration that have been the bedrock of ICT development in this region.
‘‘I do encourage us to uphold these key principles as our guide in these penultimate discussions and ultimately anchor our proposals that we shall front at the ITU PP-18,’’ said Mr.Wangusi.
The APM gives African countries a platform coordinate issues of regional interest and preparing coordinated regional contributions to the Plenipotentiary Conference, which is the main decision-making body of the ITU from an administrative, budgetary, and operational perspective.
The ITU Plenipotentiary proceedings provide overall strategic and financial guidance to the ITU for four years, and they discuss key Resolutions that have policy and substantive interest and impact for member states and stakeholders.
Kenya is vying for the post of the ATU Secretary General, at elections to be held on 17th August 2018 during the ATU Conference of Plenipotentiaries.
The ATU Conference of Plenipotentiaries and related meetings is being hosted by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) at the Safari Park hotel in Nairobi and will end on 17th of August.