World telecom body opens plenipotentiary conference in Marrakesh
Regional-Morocco, Economics, 9/24/2002
The 16th Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) opened in Marrakesh Monday to debate the future of the industry and of the Union.
Global telecommunication policy makers, more than 80 ministers, deputy-ministers and secretaries of state are attending the conference.
These high-level delegates are expected to propose global policy strategies that will breathe life back into the telecommunications sector and extend the benefits of ICTs to the more than half of the world's population still struggling to get access to basic voice telephony.
"This should be at the very top of the delegates' priority list at the Plenipotentiary Conference," says ITU Secretary General, Yoshio Utsumi.
Speaking at the opening session, Moroccan Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi, called on developed nations to extend necessary assistance to developing countries, particularly African ones, to enable them to integrate in the new world economy, wherein telecommunication and information technology are a corner stone.
Making a case of Morocco's experience in the field, Youssoufi said the kingdom made of telecommunications and information technologies a priority sector and an engine for sustainable development.
Morocco endeavors to catch up with the technological delay and adapt to new changes in order to avoid the digital gap, he said, calling for more cooperation between developed and developing nations.
He recalled that Morocco attended the first ITU conference held in 1906 in Berlin, when the Union was named the International Telegraphy Union. Since then, Morocco has been closely following the ITU activities and has intensified participation in the various meetings and conferences held by the body, he said.
For his part, Nasr Hajji, secretary of state for post and telecommunication and information technologies, surveyed Morocco's efforts to liberalize the sector. The policy yielded "extraordinary progress" in mobile phone which recorded an exceptional growth with 150,000 subscribers in 1999 and more than 6 million now, he said.
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