Accra, April 8, GNA - The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is to organise an ITU TELECOM AFRICA 2004 Forum to explore the Region's telecommunication market and to debate areas central to the market's growth. About 10,000 participants are expected to attend the Forum scheduled from May 4 to May 8 in Cairo, Egypt.
A release made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra by the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, said it was the first major ITU event to be held after the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva.
It said, the Forum, which would be an important milestone for the Africa Region, would feature an exhibition by top-level global players such as Siemens, Alcatel, Vodafone, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Flag Telecom, Thuraya and Orascom Telecom.
They would demonstrate a broad range of products and services that illustrate the kind of solutions available to deploy Information and Communications Technologies across Africa.
The release said the African telecommunications market had experienced rapid growth in many key areas and the advent of independent regulatory bodies had meant that a more competition-friendly climate was being created, while growth prospects across some of the industry were very positive, though some challenges still remained.
It said at the Forum, industry leaders from the private sector, governments, regulators and finance would share their vision on key regional topics including successful business models, new infrastructure solutions, the impact of market liberalization, investment strategies, the management of Internet resources in an African context; appropriate technologies for countries of the Region and more.
According to the release, Mr Yoshio Utsumi, ITU Secretary-General, said, "the Forum offers an opportunity for leading opinion-makers to examine topical areas central to the Region's growth, such as the expanding mobile market or the management of Internet resources.
"It is a key event to discuss telecommunications policy, development, economic and investment issues, as well as their technology and applications aspects", he said.
The release said advances in technology and the increasing affordability of telecommunications solutions continued to hold great promise for the development of telecommunications on the continent and Africa was poised for further growth in fields such as mobile communications and Internet.
Keynote speakers would include Conny Kullman, CEO of Intelsat; Marc Mesle, Vice President Africa of Orange; Michael Kutschenreuter, Chief Financial Officer at Siemens; Naguib Sawiris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Orascom Telecom; Dr Ahmed Mahmoud Nazif, Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology and Dr Jabulani Dhliwayo of the NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) Council.