From Rosaria Lubumbashi in Geneva
Zambia places high premium on ICTs for sustainable development – Sakeni
GENEVA, MAY 13/13, ZANIS——Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, Kennedy Sakeni, has commended the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) for the platform it provides the International Telecommunication Union member states to exchange ideas and experiences that bring about an informed and knowledgeable society for enhanced development.
Speaking during the high level dialogue in a capacity of more than 50 ministers who are attending the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) which officially opened today in Geneva, Mr Sakeni said Zambia places high premium on the role of the WSIS as an important platform for promoting the establishment of an equitable and a people centred society.
Mr Sakeni informed the gathering that Zambia sees the position of the WSIS as a significant platform in increasing its co-operation and technology transfer between and among nations at both regional and international levels.
“This has become even more urgent with the arrival of the Information and Communication Technologies such as Internet, Facebook, Twitter and other online social networks,” the minister re-emphasised.
Mr Sakeni also observed a greater change of the new frontiers of the media have had on the traditional media tools such as the newspapers, radio and television in transmitting news and information dissemination.
“These new frontiers of the media have reshaped what has traditionally been a preserve of the newspaper, radio and television in news and information dissemination,” he added.
During his presentation, Mr Sakeni also took advantage of his platform to inform the officials on Zambia’s commitment concerning the country’s transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television broadcasting.
According to the minister, Zambia is working to switch off analogue broadcasting television transmission by December, 31, 2014, in order to meet the ITU’s deadline of June, 17, 2015 when all countries in region one, which comprises Africa and Europe , are expected to have migrated to digital terrestrial broadcasting.
Mr Sakeni added that in view of this the Zambian Government has approved key technical and policy guidelines in order to facilitate and speed up the process.
He cited the adoption of the Second Generation Digital Video Terrestrial Television Standard (DVBT-T2) Extension of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) to areas in the country that are without the facility and review of the Broadcasting Licensing Framework which will allow infrastructure sharing and issuance of licenses for the provider and the distributor as the approved guidelines.
In enhancing Information and Communication Technologies development, Mr Sakeni also noted that the Zambian Government has put up a website where the general public can access information on Parliamentary debates as well as other Governmental development issues.
And speaking earlier, the Ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Betty Kings, highlighted the support that the United Nations is providing to Zambia in order to enhance the ICTs development.
Ambassador Kings cited the area of education which remains fundamental and a cornerstone in achieving the goal of ICT development as well as addressing the fight against poverty.
Other countries that made presentation on the progress and the impact of ICT development include Zimbabwe and Rwanda.
In Zimbabwe, there has been a number of ICT projects to promote development.
Currently, the Government in that country, like Zambia, will be extending the ICTs to the rural area while in Rwanda, leadership is paramount for purposes of making viable investments.
The International Telecommunication Union, the host, is the leading United Nations Agency for Information and Communication Technologies.
Its mission is to promote and extend the benefits of telecommunication throughout the world by implementing programmes in developing countries and developing global telecommunication standards, among others.