Top Government Leaders descend on Durban for ITU Telecom World 2018

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2018 taking place at the Durban International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) got off to a smooth start with President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opening the conference.

The ITU Telecom World 2018 being held on African soil for the first time will run from 10-13 September 2018 and coincides with the centenary celebration of the late iconic statesman Dr Nelson Mandela who was the first democratic President of South Africa to address the ITU in 1995.

“The value of information and communication is felt with particular force when, as happened in South Africa for so many years, their denial is made an instrument of repression. Such measures, however, ultimately evoke inventive and innovative ways of circumventing the restrictions. For example, as prisoners on Robben Island, when we were deprived of newspapers we searched the refuse bins for the discarded sheets of newspapers which warders had used to wrap their sandwiches. We communicated with prisoners in other sections by gathering matchboxes thrown away by warders, concealing messages in false bottoms in the boxes and leaving them for other prisoners to find. We communicated with the outside world by smuggling messages in the clothing of released prisoners. Not even the most repressive regime can stop human beings from finding ways of communicating and obtaining access to information”, declared Dr Mandela at the opening ceremony of TELECOM 95 in Geneva.

This year’s conference themed: “Innovation for smarter digital development”, has attracted approximately 8000 delegates, including senior government leaders, captains of industry, tech SMEs, policy makers, investors, corporates and digital innovators.

Thought provoking debates during the four day conference will feature the latest developments in technology such as preparations for 5G network and the opportunities it provides, business networking and innovation trends for smarter digital development.

Addressing delegates President Ramaphosa said technological change is proceeding at a pace far greater than anything humanity has experienced before.

“It is through forums like this that we are able not only to anticipate technological change, but also to harness it for the advancement of humanity. It is through bodies like the International Telecommunication Union that we craft a digital agenda for inclusivity, sustainability and development. We have the means and the responsibility to direct the evolution of information and communications technology towards the achievement of a better life for all the peoples of the world. It is our task to ensure that the 4th Industrial Revolution improves the human condition and that no one is left behind,” added President Ramaphosa.

During his welcome address KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala said government has worked hard to position KwaZulu-Natal as a home of innovation where citizens are an integral part of the information society.

“The digital age is shaping every facet of our lives. This is because new technologies and digital disruptions affect how we live; how we relate to each other and how the world functions as a global village. For our province, our country, and continent to leapfrog development in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, we need to pay attention to our ICT and Industrial development policies to make sure that no one is left behind. As the KZN provincial government, we are committed to creating a knowledge society that will meaningfully participate in the economy”, he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Lindiwe Rakharebe, Durban ICC’s Chief Executive Officer said: “The Durban ICC is at the forefront of technology, with its fiber optic network being upgraded with two 10 gigabytes per second internet uplinks for the ITU conference. Furthermore, the launch of the 5G network infrastructure during the conference will ensure an added technology enhancement for the Centre which is in line with Durban’s Smart City initiatives.”


Picture supplied: ITU Pictures

Issued by: The Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC)
For more information contact: Durban ICC Corporate Affairs Manager Gugu Sisilana, 031 360 1302 or Gugusisilana@icc.co.za