Business, government must team up to harness development potential of ICTs, ICC says

  • 4 December 2006

In an address today to ITU Telecom World 2006, International Chamber of Commerce Secretary General Guy Sebban called for more public-private cooperation to spread access to the Internet and information and communications technologies (ICTs), two powerful drivers of development.

“As the global community strives to achieve the poverty reduction goals of the UN Millennium Declaration,  business and government must work together to leverage ICTs for social and economic advancement,” said Mr Sebban, speaking on behalf of Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS), an ICC initiative and the voice of world business on ICTs and Internet governance.

Dubbed the “Olympics” of the telecoms calendar, ITU Telecom World is a trade show and forum that brings together leading figures from government and regulators as well as vendors, operators and service providers in the industry.

In a keynote address at a session on “Digital Transformations”, Mr Sebban stressed that to help spread the benefits of ICTs beyond their current reach, governments must put in place legal and regulatory frameworks that allow companies to play their part – making innovative leaps, developing new technological solutions and ensuring the investments are made to build on them.

“Keeping pace with change while smoothing the way for more successful digital transformations requires co-operation from all stakeholders – governments, business, civil society, academics and technical experts,” he added.

Mr Sebban highlighted some successful partnerships which demonstrate this, like those currently operating in India and Turkey. In these arrangements, companies work with government, academia and others to help elevate ICTs skills so more people can benefit from the socio-economic opportunities presented by these technologies.

The session, moderated by Gordon Orr, Director, McKinsey & Company in China, considered how ICTs have transformed schools, hospitals, workplaces and governments. Case studies were discussed where ICTs have improved productivity, reduced costs, or increased access to information resources.

Other keynote speakers in the session were Minister Noel Dempsey from Ireland’s Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and Mr Rory Cole, Verizon’s International Chief Operating Officer.

Panelists included:

Andre Smit, Senior Director, Technical Operations, Asia Pacific, Cisco, Singapore

Didier Philippe, Director Corporate Social Responsibility and Micro Enterprise Acceleration Program, Corporate Marketing, Hewlett-Packard Company, Switzerland

Riku Laanti, Adelaide Graduate School of Business, The University of Adelaide, Australia