ITU Africa Regional Director Says Rapid Technological Innovation Requires Adaptive Policy, Regulation - ENA English
ITU Africa Regional Director Says Rapid Technological Innovation Requires Adaptive Policy, Regulation
Addis Ababa November 23/2023 (ENA) The rapid pace of technological innovation and the increase in volume of online services requires adaptive policy and regulation, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Director for Africa Anne-Rachel Inne said.
Addressing the 5th Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Communication and ICT today, the regional director said digital transformation is central to the work of the ITU and aligns with its strategic goals of universal connectivity and sustainable digital transformation.
“In partnership with governments, the private sector, academia, development partners and various stakeholders, ITU continues to provide extensive guidance in the development of digital policies and strategies, regulatory environments, global standards, best practices to drive innovation and increase access to digital services by all.”
Highlighting that change is needed in policy and regulation, she said regulatory expertise needs to be developed continuously to integrate new technologies, competencies and skills to allow for data and evidence-based decision making.
“We all recognize and appreciate how quickly technology advances and as such regulatory frameworks need to evolve and adapt to remain effective and ensure that they are functioning as intended new overlapping emergencies call for a strategic approach to digital policy.”
Noting that regulatory and institutional frameworks play a fundamental role in driving digital ecosystem goals, Inne added the connectivity of digital services is significantly and positively correlated with the level of advancement of ICT policies and regulations as well as competition frameworks.
Additionally, the regional director said investment and development and infrastructure in the digital ecosystem are directly and positively influenced by the maturity of ICT regulatory frameworks and by completion in ICT markets.
For the regional director, the rapid pace of technological innovation and increase in volume of online services requires adaptive policy and regulation.
African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid said energy security is of utmost important and we need to scale up access to digital technologies and associated data driven services across all sectors.
The AUC has been implementing various initiatives aimed at accelerating energy access, the commissioner stated, adding the AUC has been making progress in developing policy context, strategies and frameworks to facilitate harmonization of the continental digital system.
Digitalization is one of the greatest transformative opportunities of our time. Yet, too few people can truly access it in our continent. Despite lots of improvements, only 40 percent of Africa’s population has broadband internet access.
Though mobile internet availability has increased in the continent, broadband infrastructure is yet to reach everyone with quality.
To close the gap, Abou-Zeid said significant efforts and investments are required to ensure that everyone is connected to the broadband and high speed internet in an affordable manner.
The STC session was held under the theme, “Accelerating Digital Transformation and Advancing Communication Advocacy in Africa”.