The secretary-general of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Shola Taylor, called on delegates at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Commonwealth ICT Investment Forum for Emerging Markets (Commonwealth ICT Invest’17) to seize all opportunities to invest in ICTs to achieve the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals and connect the next billion to the benefits of the Internet.
Insufficient investment in ICTs, and in particular in affordable technologies, has resulted in significant gaps in access to the Internet between Commonwealth countries.
It is well acknowledged that ICTs play a crucial role in national socio-economic development and Commonwealth ICT Invest’17 was convened in order to discuss opportunities for investment in emerging markets and also to facilitate partnerships and collaboration.
“The exceptionally high-level calibre of participants at this forum clearly indicates that the international community is well aware of the challenges and opportunities presented by the lack of investment in ICTs,” said Mr Taylor.“They are clearly demonstrating their commitment to seizing these opportunities and moving forward to develop their ICT sectors for the benefit of their countries, companies, peoples, the Commonwealth and beyond.”
Investing for the future was a recurrent theme of the first day. During the opening ceremony, Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer of du, urged delegates to develop policies that will not delay the realisation of tomorrow’s reality.
“Investment in the ICT sector is what is most lacking when it comes to ensuring that people around the world benefit from the Internet,” said Gilbert Patterson, Chairman, Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad & Tobago and Chairman of the CTO Council.“We must use this event to explore together ways to attract and encourage investment in ICTs and affordable access as we all stand to gain from a world of universal access.”
Participants at the event include ICT ministers, ministry representatives and telecoms regulators, development banks, regional ICT institutions, the private sector and development agencies from Bahamas, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Canada, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America.
The forum will continue until Wednesday, featuring discussion on innovative partnerships, investing in cybersecurity, government strategies for stimulating ICT investment and demand and more project showcases.