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Digital transformation has become pivotal in today’s living condition – Ursula

Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Madam Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has described technology and ICT services as pivotal in current living condition due to the spread and lessons derived from the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking ahead of the virtual event of the 2021 World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF-21), the Chair said the pandemic has prompted the decisive surge in reliance on ICTs for business, health, work, education, social purposes among others.

“In 2019, ITU Member States decided to hold this sixth World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum. This was well before the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear how pivotal telecommunications and ICT services are in people’s lives. That’s what made it possible for us to have near-normal communications and socio-economic activity. But from September 2019 right up to November 2021, a group of over 170 experts representing ITU Member States, Sector Members and Academia met on a regular basis to draft a set of non-prescriptive policy documents called “Opinions” which will be discussed and approved by consensus at the Forum.”

She further explained the forum discussions, will focus on policies for mobilizing new and emerging telecommunications for sustainable development which will span a range of ground-breaking technologies and services, including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, big data, and over-the-top (OTT) services.

“All 5 draft Opinions they have worked on address how new and emerging telecommunications/ICT services and technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, big data and over-the-top services (OTTs) can be enablers of a global transition to the digital economy. We’ve all realized how digitalization has become pivotal to everything we do. And so we need to consider how existing technologies, and new and emerging technologies, can facilitate that transition.

She added, “In fact, one Opinion deals specifically with the role played by these technologies and services in facilitating the use of telecommunications and ICTs for sustainable development. We still have the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals to work towards. It is important to note that it is not one single technology, but rather a mix or convergence of technologies, that will sustain the extraordinary technological advances at the center of this year’s Forum.”

2030 Agenda

Madam Ursula expressed excitement over the fact that, emerging technologies which will be the main subject for discussion at the forum will help to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges which she says counts from ending hunger to reducing inequalities and poverty, with the direction to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by leaving no one behind.

“The emerging technologies we’ll be discussing at the Forum can help us tackle the world’s most pressing challenges – from ending hunger to reducing inequalities and poverty, to combatting climate change. Everything from education, healthcare, finance, mobility, agriculture, energy, accessibility and all the other areas related to the SDGs can be facilitated and transformed through technology. Everything! But to succeed, we need to fulfill the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by leaving no one behind” she stressed.

About WTPF-21

The sixth World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum (WTPF-21) is a high-level international  event where International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Members and other stakeholders come together to exchange views on the key policy issues arising from today’s fast-changing information and communication technology (ICT) environment.

Organized by ITU, the Forum is designed to foster debate, develop fresh insight, and build multistakeholder consensus expressed in the form of “Opinions” illustrating a shared vision to guide ongoing global ICT policies, standardization and development efforts worldwide.

The Forum offers a unique opportunity to join top-level decision-makers from around the world for in-depth debates on the international public policy issues that are driving the evolution of tomorrow’s networks and services.

The theme of WTPF-2021 is “Policies for mobilizing new and emerging telecommunications/ICTs for sustainable development: The WTPF-21 would discuss how new and emerging digital technologies and trends are enablers of the global transition to the digital economy.

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