The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will be attending the third African VoIP Forum in Lagos over 21-23 August 2006. A statement issued in London by the organisers of the VoIP Forum, AITEC Africa of the UK, has confirmed the attendance of Paolo Rosa, Head, Standards Co-operation & Communications, ITU-T, Switzerland, as one of the high-level speakers for the event.

Nigeria's chief Regulator, Engineer Ernest Ndukwe, will be making a keynote address at the event which is expected to be opened by the Honourable Minister of Communications, Chief Cornelius Adebayo. Another keynote speaker at the high-profile event is the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem.

The VoIP Forum is being supported by the African ISP Association (, ISP Association of Nigeria (, the Nigeria Internet Group (, and the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), giving it an impressive stamp of endorsement by the ICT industry.

The Forum is featuring leading VoIP experts in the field. They include Tom Koster, GM, Sky-Stream, United Arab Emirates; Yossi Barkan, Executive Director, Africa, PCCW Global, Hong Kong; Sunday Folayan, MD, Skannet Nigeria; Mawuli Tse, Sales Director, Africa, iBasis; and Russell Southwood, CEO, Balancing Act, UK. Forum sessions will consider issues that include 'Assessing investment in new VoIP opportunities,' 'VoIP pricing and service strategies in a competitive market,' 'the business opportunities VoIP offer,' and 'Maximising international connectivity via a virtual service provider’, among others.

Leading the Nigerian speakers is the Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Professor Robert Ajayi Borroffice who heads Nigeria’s space research drive under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology Professor Turner Isoun. NARSDA will be launching Nigeria's second and premier communication satellite (NIGCOSAT-1) early next year to redefine communication satellite service delivery on the continent.

The CEO of Junisat, Nigeria's leading internet/VSAT service provider, will be making a presentation on VoIP status in Nigeria under the thematic title: "Is VoIP still viable for the Nigeria market?"

The Forum also is providing an exhibition showcase for IT solution providers. Already signed up as exhibitors are NIGCOMSAT-1 Project, Direct-on-PC, which is providing on-site cyber café services for more than 300 delegates from several countries expected to attend the high-profile event; Junisat, which has increasingly created a niche in the market for high quality Internet service delivery, Ibadan based Skannet and the Teledom Group which has emerged as one of Nigeria's leading providers of multiplex IT solutions. They join the growing list of foreign exhibitors led by Dalcom.

The Nigerian Internet Group (NIG) is hosting its members in its exhibition booth. "The responses have been tremendous. We have received requests for participation more than we had projected with exhibitors and delegates exceeding the projected figures. All these underscore the great interest investors have in the Nigerian market, the increasing confidence in the market as well as the regulatory environment as one that encourages the take up and fast deployment of innovative technologies," said Sean Moroney, AITEC Group Chairman.

ATCON is the umbrella body for telecommunications operators in Nigeria, the NIG is the country's leading interest group for the promotion of Internet diffusion and the NCS is Nigeria’s largest body for computer (ICT) professionals.

"This is very exciting. The industry is a dynamic one and certainly VoIP would not cease to be a major issue for a long time," said ATCON president, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem. “The African VoIP Forum ushers in opportunities for exhibitors and delegates to explore diverse opportunities offered organisations and individuals by IP technologies."

Announcing AfrISPA's and ISPAN's support for the event, ISPAN president Engr Sam Adeleke expressed the hope that the Forum would play a benchmark role in encouraging progressive and effective regulation of VoIP throughout the continent. "We encourage fellow ISPs, as well as regulators, to attend from throughout Africa so that we can form a continental body of knowledge on best practice in this crucial area for the future of telecommunications development."