The 2016 leg of the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) annual World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS16) kicked off in Gaborone today with delegates ready to consider ICT data and statistics as well as their usefulness towards ICT policy.
At the start of the three-day event this morning, Thari Pheko, the CEO of Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) and Chair of WTIS16 told attendees that the aim of the WTIS16 is to interrogate and agree on what the ICT sector should measure and how best to do so.
"To ensure that we are moving forward, one of the things we did was to make sure that we have the statistics that will tell us exactly where we are. This symposium holds answers to how the implementation of our strategy is going to be done going forward...we will be happy to share with the symposium the successes and challenges we meet in the journey to become part of the information society envisaged by the United Nations."
Brahim Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) shared details on some of the outcomes expected by the end of WTIS16 with the delegates in his opening address delivered on behalf of the ITU Secretary General.
'Tomorrow morning, we will launch the Measuring the Information Society Report 2016. The report has become one of the most authoritative sources for ICT data and for monitoring the development of the information society. We will also announce the results of the latest ICT Development Index, the IDI. The IDI is a benchmarking tool that aims to assist you in evaluating achievements in your country. Through the IDI, we can learn from one another, share and adopt best practices to boost the development of ICTS in our respective countries."
Sanou announced that the updates on work being conducted by two expert groups on Household as well as Telecommunication and ICT Indicators will be presented during WTIS-16.
"I also look forward to the discussions on digital literacy, 5G and other emerging topics. We will also discuss ICT indicators to monitor disaster risk reduction. Although we have made great achievements in strengthening national cooperation, and improving the quality and quantity of ICT statistics, we must continue to review challenges, and stay abreast of technological developments."
WTIS is being held on the African continent for only the third time, with Mauritius and Egypt the only other countries on the continent to have hosted the event.
The host city for the 2017 conference is also expected to be announced by the end of the summit.