By Prince Osuagwu
AS the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) organized Telecom World 2009 Exhibitions and Forum kicks off today in Geneva, Switzerland, one of the very strong flags that would not escape any participantâ€™s sight is that of Nigeriaâ€™s.
This is as the country is making a strong presence at the event with a special pavilion to showcase the activities and prowess that make it the strong pillar of African telecom development at the moment.
AlthoughÂ countries from across the African continent would join together in national pavilions to address the overarching theme of bridging the digital divide throughout the five days, October 5 to 9th, the event is slated to last, Nigeriaâ€™s pavilion is expected to be the cynosure of all eyes, considering the feat of taking up one quarter of African telecom growth, and surpassing South Africaâ€™s strong hold at leading African telecom growth.
Pavilions representing Burundi, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda among others would attract a broad range of organizations from the non-profit, private and R&D sectors with the common goal of reasserting their commitment to ICT and digital development.
Meanwhile the Nigerian pavilion has the backing of Galaxy Backbone Plc as a key partner. Galaxy Backbone is a Federal Government establishment for the provision of a common ICT platform forÂ network connectivity and other transversal services to the public sector. The company also has the further objective of delivering digital access that will enable relevant ICT solutions at sub-national levels of governance and the underserved communities in Nigeria
The company, said it was excited to partner the Nigerian pavilion at the event, describing its participation as an opportunity to further demonstrate Federal Governmentâ€™s commitment to fast-track the countryâ€™s uptake of the benefits of the digital revolution going on the world over.
According to the companyâ€™s CEO, Mr Gerald Ilukwe, â€œGalaxyâ€™s participation is a demonstration our passionate desire to be the agent of change in deepening the role of ICTs in the public sector delivery of services to Nigerian citizens. This also supports our vision of enabling digital inclusion as a powerful developmental tool for bridging the poverty gap in the country. More importantly, Nigeriaâ€™s participation will not only showcase our achievements in the ICT sector, but also highlight the immense business opportunities in the sector and related industries, for the variety of investors who will be attending the global eventâ€.
ITU Telecom World 2009 will be a major milestone in addressing the issue of broadband access, and is seen as an important industry event for the developing world, providing an opportunity to benchmark local ICT sectors in terms of policy, regulation, and infrastructure development. It also enables the showcasing of local ICT, and represents an invaluable opportunity to attract inward investment and seek opportunities to engage with ICT companies from the developed world.
The event will welcome some 30 Heads of State and Heads of Government, including President Al Hadji Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh of the Republic of the Gambia, President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi, President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda, and President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania. African top government officials attending include Prime Minister Mr Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of the Kingdom of Lesotho, and Deputy Prime Minister Mr Emile Bongeli Yeikelo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Secretary General of ITU, Dr Hamadoun Toure, who hosts the event, elicited much hope that there would be no dull moment at the show as he said that â€œthe presence of these and other world leaders at ITU Telecom World 2009 will provide a tremendous boost to ICT development, and send out the right message to industry leaders about the importance of ICT infrastructure to ongoing socio-economic development,â€ .
That could be perhaps why Galaxy backbone said that â€œthe ITU event is an avenue for mainstreaming ourÂ key messages on the concept of a connected government through 1-GOV.net which is a common governmentâ€“wide platform for the provision of connectivity, hosted messaging and collaboration and other transversal services for Federal Government Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs); and the reality of the National Information Communication and Education Programmes (NICEP)- a nation-wide ICT infrastructure platform for facilitating digital inclusion of underserved communities and hard-to-reach areas of the country. These platforms support the key objectives of the 7-point Agenda and Vision 20: 2020″.
The event also offers exciting opportunities for participants to network and secure partnerships with leading international ICT institutions, bandwidth wholesalers, equipment vendors, development partners and solutions providers.