ITU TELECOM AFRICA 2004 (3-7 MAY 2004)

Telecom Africa 2004, which will take place at the Cairo International Conference Center aims at bringing markets closer to share the growth of the telecom sector. More than 10 000 visitors from 100 countries are expected at the event. Moreover, estimated above 600 high level participants will be at the forum and exhibition representing government, regulatory bodies, funding agencies and the industry at large. Telecom Africa is returning to Cairo after 10 years to explore revolutionary advancements happening in the ICT field, as well as the vast transformations and developments in consumer habits and business trends. Building on this potential, the Government of Egypt will be working on a specific agenda to engage its regional partners assuring a platform for communication between governments, funding agencies, the business community and the ICT society at large.

More than 200 exhibitors will occupy over 18000sqm, with more than 6000sqm located in the new annex built specifically for this grand event. The exhibition will house national pavilions showing unique initiatives of ICT for development and related projects from the region, as well as multinational corporations, SMEs working in the ICT business also from the region.

'Advantage Africa' is the theme of Telecom Africa’s forum. Topics debated during the forum will be specific to the region and will include: Digital solidarity; mobile Africa; managing internet resources; ICT for development case studies; using ICTs to achieve NEPAD objectives and fostering local content.

The highlight of the event is the Youth Forum, entitled 'Access Africa', which will gather young adults from 53 countries to participate and share their views towards issues related to the advancement of telecom in the region.

Remarkably, during the World Summit on Information Society-WSIS in December 2003, H.E. Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt, Mr. Kofi Anan, UN Secretary General and Mr. Yushio Utsumi, ITU Secretary General, sent an electronic invitation to the World Community to meet at ITU Telecom Africa 2004 in Cairo.

The Egyptian Pavilion, 2000sqm, located in Hall 4, is housing the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, showcasing its national initiatives to promote the use of ICTs and unique projects of relevance to Egypt; Telecom Egypt, the incumbent operator, celebrating 150 years of telecommunications in Egypt at the Fair; the National Telecom Regulatory Authority; the National Telecom Institute; Egypt Post; and Egyptian private sector companies working in hardware, software, telecom service provision and manufacturing.

At the MCIT booth, from May 4-7 live presentations on the Egyptian Information Society Initiative and its applications will focus on topics related to the National Post development Plan, e-commerce: Your PC is an ATM, Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age, and e-government.

Egypt is, indeed, honored to host and organize the first official event following the WSIS to focus on African telecommunications. In this context, Egypt is planning to facilitate the participation of African small and medium enterprises working in ICT that could benefit from such an exposure. Moreover, organized field trips to ICT factories, software houses, and specialized facilities will take place; as well as special tours to the Smart Village, Egypt’s technology park.

Concurrent to the event, the Ministry of Communications and Information technology-MCIT, in cooperation with the National Telecommunications Institute (an affiliate of MCIT) have designed and will implement a training program for ICT professionals from African countries. The program, which concludes during ITU Telecom Africa 2004, aims at building the capacity of ICT professionals within the governmental levels as well as the capacities of technical staff.

Prior to the event the Arab Business Forum for ICT, ABFICT, will hold its annual conference on May 2. Egypt’s Minister of CIT, Deputy Secretary General on Economic Affairs at LAS, and Secretary General of the ITU will inaugurate the conference. Over three sessions discussions will embrace topics such Arab Mobile Operators future trends, Outsourcing, and E-Learning.