Global ICT Regulatory Meeting Highlights Innovation in Driving ICT

ITU-Launches-Innovation-Platform-with-Republic-of-KoreaThe Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-15) held at the Stade de l’Amitié in the Gabonese capital, Libreville has laid emphasis on innovation in driving ICT in emerging and developing economies.

Promoting digital inclusion and closing the ‘digital gap’ between a handful of highly industrialized economies and the world’s many emerging markets and developing economies will require an innovation-oriented mindset that seeks out new approaches to regulation as well as to traditional challenges such as infrastructure funding, service delivery, and taxation of ICT goods and services.

Speaking to delegates ITU secretary general Houlin Zhao said, “Young people are natural innovators, and today’s youth are also ‘digital natives’ – using ICTs to solve problems and create useful new services comes naturally to them, so they can become major drivers of socio-economic change.”

“Far-sighted governments should look to ways of harnessing this energy and creativity to transform their economies through ICTs and help bridge the digital gap,” added Zhao.

The theme ‘Mind the Digital Gap – Regulatory Incentives to Achieve Digital Opportunities’, focused on a wide range of pressing regulatory issues, including mobile payments; network sharing models; taxation and the digital economy; the ‘Internet of Everything’; regulation and broadband uptake; and ways that regulatory frameworks can help promote accessibility for all.

The GSR-15 closing ceremony was presided over by the director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), Brahima Sanou; GSR-15 Chair Lin Mombo; and Gabon’s minister for digital economy and posts, Pastor Ngoua Nneme.

Ngoua Nneme said, “The ambition of the Gabonese government is to ensure that ICTs not only contribute to the growth of GDP, but are accessible, available and affordable. I assure you that the Gabonese Republic under the leadership of president Ali Bongo Ondimba will take the necessary steps to implement the outcomes of your work.”

BDT director Brahima Sanou emphasized the role that ITU can play in fostering innovation.

“In today’s increasingly globalized ICT markets, regulators and policy makers have a need to get together to find common ground and identify innovative ways of working together. Innovation is becoming central to the policy frameworks that will create the right enabling environment to drive growth – and ITU serves as the ideal neutral platform for those discussions,” commented Brahima Sanou.

In his closing address to delegates, Mombo said, “By hosting this meeting, Gabon has shown its commitment to international cooperation in working towards an inclusive information society in the world in general, and in Africa in particular. I am particularly delighted with the relevance and quality of the best practice guidelines that we have just adopted. They respond to the current needs of ICT development in bridging the digital divide.”

The GSR, world’s largest specialized gathering of ICT regulators and policy specialists from the public and private sectors, was chaired this year by Lin Mombo, president of Gabon’s ICT regulator, the Autorité de Régulations des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP). The event was co-hosted by ITU and ARCEP, under the patronage of his excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, president, Gabon.

The event welcomed around 400 senior international policy makers from over 60 countries, representing the world’s ICT regulatory authorities and leading tech companies. Strategies to accelerate digital inclusion to leverage the growth potential of emerging economies and developing markets were a key focus of discussions.

The next Global Symposium for Regulators, GSR-16, will be held in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt whereas GSR-17 will be held in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

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