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Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has opened the ITU Global Symposium for Regulators in Dakar with a call on delegates from countries worldwide to embrace regulation that will help the world repeat the 'mobile miracle' for broadband deployment

President Wade stressed that everyone should share in the benefits of the digital dividend, even those who are not aware of the transition to the digital economy, and presented initiatives for youth, such as cyberhuts, which act as hubs for communication and training. The aim of regulators can be stated quite simply: A computer for all, digital for all.

The meeting brings together leading policy makers from around the world to debate the critical issues surrounding deployment of the ICTs that will play a vital role in ushering in tomorrow's Knowledge Society.

This year’ s meetings focus on key issues including ongoing mobile and wireless market development, the impact of broadband on and beyond the ICT sector, and the migration from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting and allocation of the so-called ‘ digital dividend’ .

Speaking at the opening of the GSR this morning, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré urged the world’ s ICT regulators to “ do for the Internet and broadband what we have now so successfully achieved with mobile.”

Noting that this year’ s GSR is the first to be held on the African continent, he spoke of the extraordinary progress Africa has made in ICT development, with mobile cellular penetration now reaching 44% across the continent as a whole, an increase from just 15% four years ago.

“ Two things need to change if the online world is to become a ubiquitous resource for all Africans,” Dr Touré said. “ Firstly, governments need to raise broadband to the top of the development agenda. Secondly, we need to ensure that Internet access – and especially broadband access – becomes very much more affordable. This is where the GSR can play an important role. Affordability is dramatically improved when competitive forces are brought to bear, and when there are clear incentives to increase capacity.”

With the theme ‘ Enabling Tomorrow’ s Digital World’ , this year’ s GSR features a special focus on broadband, looking at the challenges for regulators in stimulating nationwide broadband deployment through adaptive and targeted regulation and out-of-the-box tools.

A main output of the GSR is a set of Best Practice Guidelines based on contributions from regulators around the world. The theme of this year’ s guidelines is “ A new ladder of regulation: best practices for enabling open networks” .

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