Posted on: 13th September 2018
Delegates at the Special Session of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) Administrative Council in Nairobi.The gathering meeting is the first in a series of meetings discussing pertinent issues on ICTs on the continent
Delegates from across the continent began meeting in Nairobi on Thursday this week in series of meetings to chart the path for unlocking the potential of Information and communications technologies (ICTs) for socio-economic development.
The meeting comes as Kenya sets its eyes for the top seat of the continental ICT body, the African Telecommunications Union (ATU).
The experts are considering a number of issues affecting the growth of ICTs in the region as well as Africa’s position on issues at the global level.
On Thursday, delegates convened for the Special Session of the ATU administrative council, the first in a series of four meetings lined up in Nairobi.
Key issues for discussion in the meeting included the consideration and approval of the new ATU Strategic Plan (2019-2022), the question of the seat of the ATU as well as matters of membership contributions.
The ATU is currently being hosted in Kenya on a temporary basis and the delegates will be expected to discuss proposals to have it permanently hosted in Kenya.
Speaking during the event, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi called for increased synergy among various stakeholders on the continent in order to effectively leverage on ICTs.
He said many of the obstacles faced in the region could be overcome through collaboration between government, development partners and private sector.
‘‘There are opportunities for collaboration, among them, ICT research, which can help establish formidable foundations for the frameworks and models on which our policies and strategies are based,’’ said Mr.Wangusi.
Mr.Wangusi said that the continent can leverage on collective efforts and interests through the ATU to get more value even at global decision-making conferences.
‘‘It (ATU) is strategically placed to promote initiatives aimed at integrating regional markets, attracting investment into ICT infrastructure, and building institutional and human capacity, among others.
The ATU Secretary General Mr.Abdoulkarim Soumaila said one of the issues impeding the continental ICT body from discharging its mandate is the challenge by member states to honour their financial obligations.
‘‘It makes it very difficult for the union to set priorities and adopt a financial plan without the commitment of member countries in meeting their financial obligations,’’ said Mr.Soumaila.
ATU membership is expected to increase to 47 following the recent joining of Rwanda and Morocco.
Besides the Special Session of the Administrative Council, other meetings lined up include the 4th African Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 2018 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference (ITU PP-18), the Conference Preparatory Committee, the Ministerial Roundtable and the ATU Conference of Plenipotentiaries.
Elections for the ATU Secretary General will take place on 17th August 2018 during the ATU Conference of Plenipotentiaries.