ITU Day 1: Green Is the Color
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Touré has led the day's opening ceremony and a press conference, both of which were brim full of broad statements about the positive potential of technology deployment on the global economy (through job creation and service usage stimulus) and the fight against global warming.
Touré was not alone, though, as China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) chairman and CEO Jianzhou Wang and Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, joined him for both events.
Wang talked up his company's "green action plan" to lower power consumption, something that can, he says, be achieved without increasing spending. He also promoted the "Internet of Things" concept (the idea that everything can be interconnected wirelessly using IP links), saying that it has great potential in everyday tasks such as traffic management and the control of heating, which again can lead to fewer carbon emissions. (See ETSI Creates New Specs Group for more on this concept.)
Kagame, meanwhile, promoted the investment potential of Rwanda and Africa in general. Rwanda hosted the ITU's Connect Africa Summit in October 2007, since when, according to Kagame, there has been $8 billion in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) investments in Africa, including more than $500 million in Rwanda. (See Connect Africa Touts Progress, Seacom Reaches Into Rwanda, and Millicom Wins Rwanda License.)
He noted specifically that this investment is "not aid," but investment, from government budgets and the private sector, that has been the result of the improving economies in Africa and encouraging policies and regulations.
And in response to a question from Light Reading, Kagame said the lines of capital being made available through the Chinese vendors Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) are "appreciated... It's a welcome idea for Rwanda and the rest of the African continent. We have been eager to tap into these resources." (See Huawei's Lucky Number: 30B, ZTE Secures $15B, Highlights R&D, and ZTE Bags Another $10B in Credit.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading