12 May 2008
Dr. Kamel at ITU Telecom Africa: Cyberspace Witnessed a Quantum Leap Since 2004

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Tarek Kamel confirmed Sunday in his speech, marking the opening of ITU Telecom Africa 2008, that cyberspace has witnessed a quantum leap since 2004 when ITU Telecom Africa was held in Egypt for the second time. 
In his speech, Minister Kamel expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif for his attendance and his ongoing support of Egypt’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector. He also expressed his appreciation for International Telecom Union (ITU) Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Toure for his endeavors in organizing the event and helping it succeed.

Dr. Kamel said we are witnessing significant development in several ICT sectors together with the introduction of technological tools which became a necessity in our daily life. Minister Kamel gave examples like broadband internet, mobile TV, blogs, 3G networks that enable ICT and media convergence, and the connection between landline and mobile phone markets and that between voice, visual and data services.

Dr. Kamel further explained to the event attendees that the main remarks distinguishing the current age are the technology and internet, which nobody owns. Rather, the whole world contributes to its development.

Dr. Kamel pointed out to the fact that technology take-up and the ICT usage are unprecedented, reaching a billion PCs worldwide, over 1.3 billion Internet users, more than 1.5 million new mobile subscribers per day globally.

Minister Kamel added that the world has shifted towards the information age, transforming it into a global village created by ICT. ICT, according to Kamel, has contributed to the core of economic growth and an enhanced living standard.

Dr. Kamel shed light on the challenges facing this technological leap, those imposed by the information age. Market dynamics, he said, are changing rapidly, pushing forward new businesses and business models.

More importantly, according to Dr. Kamel, are the challenges facing the citizen of the global cyber world such as: cyber-security, privacy and data protection, SPAM, the protection of children and minors as well as the safe usage of the cyber space.

Such challenges, he added, require both local and regional collaboration as well as international cooperation on the levels of technology, policy, regulations, legal and business.

Minister Kamel raised some questions on the continuing technological development including: Can we apply the same regulations to all types of infrastructure, IT, telecom and media? Should content issues be separate from infrastructure issues and regulations? What are the legal and regulatory frameworks that govern the future of a safer and more secure cyber world? Is a harmonization of such legal and regulatory frameworks achievable worldwide? He said the answers to these questions differ from one country to another based on the integration of technology into fields, its policy and regulations.

In this respect, Dr. Kamel added that regulations should always be subject to revision and amendments following the technological progress day after day.

Africa, Minister continued, has become part of the global dialogue in a structured way. Such an involvement is being empowered by the creation of the Africa Union Conference for ICT Ministers that was first established in Cairo in April 2006 and chaired by Egypt for the past two years.

Dr. Kamel said the African ICT business community, as it grows and matures, should engage deeper in the continuing international debate on ICT issues.

Minister Kamel called on the African ICT community to get involved more in issues related to internet governance. He stressed on Egypt’s readiness and commitment towards hosting the fourth meeting of the Internet Governance Forum in 2009 which will place for the first time in an African country.

Minister Kamel concluded that everybody should be committed to pave the way for the Africans who are not online yet and overcome all obstacles facing this target.

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