Hamadoun Touré back in Mali

By Issa Sikiti da Silva

Mali has welcomed back with pomp and pride its ICT hero, Dr Hamadoun Touré, who has returned home after eight years at the helm of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), where many observers say he helped change the face of ICTs in the Third World.

Touré has been replaced by China's Houlin Zhao, the man who has been acting as his deputy since he was elected S-G of ITU in 2007.

The former ITU boss touched his motherland’s soil on 26 December 2014, feted by his government who dispatched a high-level delegation led by Mahamadou Camara, minister of digital economy, information and communication, to welcome him at the Bamako International airport.

Touré said he was proud to have represented his country and the African continent with honour to the United Nations. 

“I’m back after eight years at the helm of ITU and I’m happy and satisfied to have done a good job, because if I failed people were going to blame Mali and Africa for the failure,” he said.

"It was necessary to reorganise the organisation, market it, place a particular emphasis on the technical work, and change its methods of management, while trying to enhance its visibility," 61-year-old Touré, who was educated in Russia, said. 

“He has indeed done a good job at ITU and Africans should be proud of him,” West African ICT analyst John Osei-Seidu told Biztechafrica yesterday.

Mali media also praised Touré, with some sections of the written press proclaiming:Mission Accomplished for our homeboy Hamadoun Touré.

Seidu said Touré deserved to be celebrated for, among others, tirelessly campaigning for the digital migration process in Africa, going from one place to another to remind governments about the importance of switching from analogue to digital broadcasting.

ITU has given world governments the deadline of June 2015 to complete their digital migration process or face black out.

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