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27.11.2008 General News

Ghana Elected Vice Chair Of ITU


The 63rd Session of the Governing Council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has elected Ghana from the Africa Region as Vice Chair by consensus in Geneva Switzerland. The Chairmanship went to Bulgaria from Eastern European region.


The session which ended on November 12, 2008 was to coordinate shared global use of the radio spectrum, improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and establish worldwide standards that assure seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems.


An information note sent to the Ghana News Agency said the session was preceded by a two-day High Level Segment (HLS) meeting.


Dr Benjamin Aggrey-Ntim, Ghana's Minister for Communications stressed that with the modest improvements in ICT infrastructure development, Ghana is already encountering threats to the security of the networks, which undermined the confidence that is required for ICT applications in all spheres of development.


Speaking on the topic: 'Managing cyber-threats through harmonised policies and organisational structures', he said Ghana is on the average, encountering an incidence of 82 cases of cyber crimes per month, nearly one thousand cases in a year thereby undermining communications system .


He acknowledged that with the creation of the enabling environment and the positive sustenance of healthy competition in Ghana, fixed telephone line subscriptions have increased from 248,900 lines in 2001, to 389,483 lines by June 2008.


'With regard to the mobile cellular subscription, there have been an explosive expansion from a 2001 figure of 215,000, to 10,242,916 subscriptions, giving a percentage rise of 4643.8 percent,' he said.


The total fixed and mobile subscription as at August 2008 now stands at 10,522,240 representing a cumulative percentage rise of 2163.5 percent.


Dr Aggrey-Ntim outlined Ghana's electronic-Security focus as the availability of suitably qualified people, magnitude of change to existing business processes and the choice of appropriate technology and the need for adoption of specific standards.


The Minister said it had been captured in the Ghana Electronic Transactions Bill 2008, the electronic Communications Bill 2008, National Communications Authority Bill 2008, and National Information Technology Agency Bill 2008 yet to be passed by Parliament.  


ITU is the leading United Nations agency for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) issues, and also the global focal point for Governments and the private sector in developing communications networks and services.


The ITU Council comprises a maximum of 25% of the total number of member states, which are elected by the Plenipotentiary Conference with due regard to the need for equitable distribution of Council seats among the five world regions (Americans, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australasia). The current Council is comprised of 46 members.


The role of the Council is to consider, in the interval between Plenipotentiary Conferences, broad telecommunication policy issues to ensure that the Union's activities, policies and strategies fully respond to today's dynamic, rapidly changing telecommunications environment.  It also prepares a report on the policy and strategic planning of the ITU.


It is also responsible for ensuring the smooth day-to-day running of the Union, coordinating work programmes, approving budgets and controlling finances and expenditure.