" ITREALMS: WAFICT, vital for regional growth – Toure

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WAFICT, vital for regional growth – Toure

Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr. Hammadoun Toure, has said that the West African ICT Congress (WAFICT) is vital for the growth of the region.

Toure, who was reacting to the forthcoming second WAFICT Congress slated for next month, in Lagos, said the three-day conference is central to continued growth in the sub-region’s telecommunications industry. Speaking in Barcelona, Spain, recently, during the Mobile World Congress, he commended the organizers, IT & Telecom Digest.

He said, the concept of the conference would pave way for further growth and positive change in West Africa.

According to him, WAFICT is timely and vital for the growth of the sub-region’s telecom market and the economies of the countries in general.“The idea of such a conference is highly commendable; and coming from your magazine, which has such a record of pioneering excellence and nurturing the telecom growth in West Africa – because I recall the magazine has been on for 10 years now – I have no doubt that this conference will help to drive the growth, the awareness and the penetration of telecom in the region further and higher than it is currently the case,” he said.

However, the organizers led by Mr. Mkpe Abang disclosed that the theme for this year’s congress is “Moving West Africa Forward: Policy and Technology Imperatives – Trends, Potentials and Challenges,” WAFICT Congress 2010 would hold at the ultra modern Eko Expo Hall, Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, from June 1-3.

This, he said, follows an exceptional outing in last year’s edition, which held concurrently with the 10th edition of the West African International Telecommunications and Information Communications Technology Exhibition (W.Afri.Tel), since 2001.

Abang noted that with competition from new mobile and allied ICT entrants, a growing market that embraces and shows great potential for broadband, limitless taste for mobile, WiMAX, network solutions, computing and e-business solutions, among others, Africa’s largest market, Nigeria, is also reputed as having the most transparent and best regulatory environment supportive for telecom and IT investment and growth in Africa.

He also said that the conference agenda shows that the event would highlight such crucial topics as broadband, rural connectivity, accessibility and cost-efficiency, managed services and future networks, fraud and mobile management, customer retention as panacea for churn, competition and need for quality services, policies, regulations and regulators, licenses and license implications, Internet and ubiquity networks, fibre optics and Long distance cables, among others.

This year’s WAFICT is organised by IT & Telecom Digest in conjunction with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation headquartered in London, the UK, and the Global VSAT Forum. Dr. Toure, a Malian, copiously referred to the Nigerian telecom revolution, saying what happened in Nigeria “is a very good sign that Africans can take up their own fate in their hands and achieve greatness.”

He added that with such positive achievements in telecom in one decade, Nigeria has become a motivating factor and a good example for other African countries in general.

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