[Daily Observer (Banjul)] The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Development Forum and the 11th Forum on Telecommunications/ICT Regulations Authority (FTRA) opened Monday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
The two confabs, which aim at dealing on the Fibre optic broadband and sharing capacity and open access principles to achieve Connect Africa Goal, are organised by the ITU on the invitation of the government of The Gambia through the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) in close collaboration with the African Telecommunications Regulators' Network and the African Regional Working Party on Private Sector Issues.
The confabs precede the ITU Regional Development Forum, which kicks-off this Wednesday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel with the theme "Modern Spectrum Management and Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting".
In his official opening statement, Alhagie Cham, the minister of Information, Communication and Information Infrastructure reiterated the need for standardisation of Africa's telecommunication industry to meet the growing demands of the people. He also informed the gathering that the Gambia government has already put in place a legal working framework that creates an affordable and accessible service on telecommunications for the people.While thanking the ITU and stakeholders for convening the two forums in The Gambia, Minister Cham assured them of government's unreserved commitment to collaborate with them.
For his part, Alagie B Gaye, the director general of PURA said the "Connect Africa" target was formally agreed upon during the 10th Forum, which was held in Zambia, and opined that to attain this goal, there is the need for Africa to be one. He expressed hope that at the end of the forum, implementable programmes that will be essential and useful to the participating countries will be put in place.
Judith Tembo, the representative of the director general of Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority, observed that the forum would create avenue for the liberalisation of the international telecommunication gateways for Africa.
Jones Killimbe, the director general of RASCOM said the FTRA conferences serve as a platform where knowledge and ideas are shared for sustainable development of the African continent. The theme of the forum, he said, reminds everyone of the normal challenges they face and the need to create room for addressing them. He added that Africa as a continent needs coordinated efforts to catch up with the world's growing development.
Sami Albashr, the director general of the ITU told the gathering that the forum will enable them to review the strengths and weaknesses of the FTRA and to put tangible recommendations that would enable it continue to flourish. The themes of the forums, he went on, are goals that are set by African states to have all their capitals and major cities interconnected.
He went on to explain that ITU in her efforts has developed a spectrum management system for development countries. While thanking the government of The Gambia through PURA for providing the enabling environment for the hosting of the forum, Albashr assured them of ITU's continuous collaboration at all times.
Gambia: Nation Hosts ITU-FTRA Regional Confabs