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HON. VINCENT BYRON JR, MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, TO ACCEPT TWO ICT AWARDS AT 2016 WORLD TELECOMMUNICATION/ICT INDICATORS SYMPOSIUM IN BOTSWANA

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 19, 2016 (SKNIS): The Honourable Vincent Byron Jr, Minister of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications, is scheduled to address the forthcoming 14th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS), which will take place at the Grand Palm Resort Hotel, Gaborone International Convention Centre, Gaborone, Botswana, from November 21-23, 2016, where he will accept two ICT awards for St. Kitts and Nevis.

During the WTIS, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will launch its flagship Measuring the Information Society Report 2016, which features the latest ICT (Information Communication Technologies) Development Index (IDI), a benchmarking tool that monitors information society developments worldwide.

The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis will receive two awards for having made most progress on the IDI (ICT Development Index) rank and the IDI value between 2015 and 2016, and therefore featuring among the most dynamic countries highlighted in the report. The Report and the latest results of the IDI will be presented during the launch event, which takes place on November 22.

Minister Byron is scheduled to take part in the Ministerial Roundtable, that takes place on Monday, November 21, on the topic of “Leaving no one behind”, which is part and parcel of the 2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development that has pledged that “no one will be left behind”, to ensure that all people equally benefit from the rights and opportunities that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) voice. In terms of ICTs, this means that efforts need to focus on achieving a truly inclusive information society. Those at the “bottom of the pyramid”, including low-income groups, the illiterate, persons with special needs or those living in rural areas, need to equally benefit from high-speed and high-quality internet connections. These population groups not only run the greatest risk of being left outside but also are those who could benefit the most from the opportunities that ICTs can offer for development. At the same time, policy makers require data to track relevant inequalities.

The Ministerial Roundtable will discuss national initiatives on how to close the digital divide and to ensure an inclusive information society. Questions that the session will address include: What are the main challenges and barriers faced by those that are not yet participating in the information society? Which information do policy makers require to effectively monitor inequalities in ICT access and use? What are innovative technologies and tools to connect the unconnected? Which policies and regulatory steps can governments take to drive investment, and to foster public-private partnerships, so as to expand ICT access to all of their citizens, including those at the “bottom of the pyramid”?

Other ministers participating in the Ministerial Roundtable include H.E. Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Transport and Communications, Botswana; H.E. Mr. Rufino Ovono Ondo Engonga, Secretario de Estado encargado de Telecomunicaciones y Nuevas Tecnologias, Ministerio de Telecomunicaciones y Nuevas Tecnologias, Equatorial Guinea; and H.E. Dr. Win Mlambo, Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Zimbabwe.

The WTIS-2016 is organized by the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and hosted by the Government of Botswana. It brings together delegates from all over the world, ranging from government ministers and business leaders to regulators, national statisticians, lead academicians and ICT data producers and analysts.

The objective of the Symposium is to debate new and emerging issues on ICT data and statistics and their role in policy making, to provide strategic guidance to the international community on information society trends and future monitoring, and to develop standards and methodologies for producing high-quality data and statistical indicators. WTIS provides a unique platform for ICT data users and producers to meet and exchange knowledge, share best practices, identify business opportunities and enhance cooperation.  

Minister Byron’s trip and accommodation are provided for by the International Telecommunication Union based in Switzerland.

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