" ITREALMS: Telecom World ’09: Switzerland snubs ITU over visa

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Telecom World ’09: Switzerland snubs ITU over visa

Plans by the Nigerian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals to set the city of Geneva agog as the 2009 edition of the Telecom World forum and exhibition opened on Monday at the Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland, may have suffered a set back as many of them were denied entry visas for the event.

Indications also emerged that Switzerland embassy in Nigeria may have snubbed the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure by denying some Nigerians entry visa to attend the 2009 ITU organized Telecom World, despite his intervention.

This is coming as some of the intending participants to the ICT show, and who were denied visas have Note Verbale; an instrument of engagement between embassies, usually issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the government of the resident state to an ambassador within a given country.

International relations experts defined a note verbale as “an unsigned diplomatic note written in the third person, of the nature of a memorandum but sometimes considered to be more formal. It is also known as Third Party Note and Third Person Note, with the abbreviation (TPN).”

However, some Nigerian ICT professionals, numbering over 20 may have lost out in their bids to be part of the groove at the 2009 edition of the Telecom World forum and exhibition, due to visa denial by Switzerland embassy to facilitate their participation.

ITRealms Online investigations gathered that even the intervention of the office of the ITU Secretary General, who is the chief regulator of ICT sector globally under the United Nations’ classification and chief host of the Telecom World, could not save the situation.

In addition, it was gathered that the consular officer, ‘whiteman - Christ’ had insisted that even interventions by officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which is the coordinating agency for the event in the country could not pacify his position, as he rebuffed every entreaty.

ITRealms Online learnt that a note verbale was obtained last week and sent to the Switzerland embassy situated at Adetokumbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 2 at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, where some Nigerians took ‘refuge’ in order to meet up with the time for registration every working day, Monday through Thursday for submission of applications without success.

Equally, even those who reportedly were at the embassy as early as 7am, even though the official opening time is 9am, still have their names missing when the official list came out.

However, the Nigerian ICT community had planned to storm the city of Geneva for the 2009 edition of the Telecom World forum and exhibition, which opened on Monday at the Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland.

A sizeable number of ICT professionals had arranged to be at this year’s edition given the plans by NCC to have a Nigerian pavilion strategically located and adorned in the national colours of green-white-green.

Nigeria’s delegate to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) organized show is being led by the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili and the chief executive officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, while key top industry professionals from both public and private sector form part of the delegation.

The ITU Telecom World 2009 with the theme: Open Networks – Connected Minds, would last till Friday, October 9, 2009 and has been identified as an opportunity for the Nigerian government to showcase her achievements in the ICT sector and create multi-national platform for investors to explore immense business opportunities in the ICT sector in Nigeria.

ITRealms Online recalled that while receiving the Secretary General of ITU, Dr. Hamadoun Toure recently in Abuja, Prof. Akunyili had noted that telecom revolution has been successful on Africa continent, mainly because it touches ground with African values for community and staying in touch. So, she was not surprised that Nigeria alone generates over 67 million subscribers via Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) on the continent.

“Our people like to stay in touch. The digital divide is being effectively bridged by telecom” she asserted.

Equally speaking during the visit Dr. Hamadoun Toure noted that Nigeria has been playing a significant role in the global ICT community and the Nigeria Pavilion would be one of the focal points at the Telecom World.

In his message at the opening session on Monday, Toure said, ITU Telecom World, is the leading global ICT showcase that encompasses the full reach of the ICT industry, thus a premier networking platform where top-ranking industry leaders engage in a strategic dialogue with Heads of State, Ministers, policy-makers and international experts to address the role of ICTs in economic recovery and stimulating future investment and growth.

This global leaders’ summit, he said, focuses on the role and positioning of the ICT industry to chart the road ahead, offering a dynamic and truly global cutting edge exhibition that showcases futuristic technologies and applications.

A significant number of national pavilions, are providing the platform for the ICT industry from around the world to participate in ITU Telecom World 2009.

“And the Forum offers an opportunity to Connect Minds by examining the impact of the global economic downturn; its commitment to connect the world, ITU facilitates dialogue in a solutions-oriented environment. Bridging both public and private sectors, key decision-makers actively participate to advance workable solutions and forge far-reaching impact in ICTs,” he said.

In the context of the current economic crisis, Toure said, this world-class event is a must on the calendar of all stakeholders from across the ICT community: industry executives, vendors, operators, manufacturers, service providers, administrations, ministers, regulators, policy advisors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academics.

The thematic underpin of the entire event, ‘Open Networks - Connected Minds’, he said, sets the aspirational ambitions of world 2009, therefore, linking the concepts open and connected convey diversity in approaches to innovation, problem solving, collaboration and cooperation across all stakeholders.

Particularly, Toure also noted that in these times of economic strain and complexity, these notions of openness and connection are more than a reference to technical standards, and focus most importantly on the modes of dialogue that bring peoples of the world together. The theme conveys common purpose, as well as the ability and willingness of stakeholders to listen, share, experiment and learn from the broader community,” he said.

Over 30 Heads of States and governments, in addition to over 70 Ministers and key chief executive officers (CEOs) have begun to explore the future of ICT industry through discourse, interaction and debates at the conference.

As said by the Head, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, the forum is for stimulation of economic growth, sustainability and development of emerging markets.

“With its focus on development opportunities, the event is ready to bring together corporate social responsibility and cases to promote for best practices,” he said.
The exhibition consists of world’s latest innovations in ICT – including broadband or Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled services, new broadcasting services, mobile and wireless technologies, next-generation networks, computer hardware and software, ICT applications, satellites and spanning the full reach of the ICT industry.

Nigeria awaits the outcome of the conference to reposition its market as the fastest growing ICT hub in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

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