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Friday, 9 September 2016

ICTs for sustainable development goals

By Bob Aston
The 2016 Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium themed:” Embracing capacity building opportunities in the digital era” that took place at Safari Park Hotel and Casino in Nairobi on September 6-8, 2016 pledged continued capacity building in Information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The over 400 participants from regulatory authorities, academia, entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations, and the United Nations representatives agreed to improve’ digital skills and empower countries to take full advantage of strong continued growth in ICT-related jobs.
Delegates during the Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium.PHOTO/ITU
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) organized the Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium, while the Kenyan Government through the Communication Authority of Kenya hosted the event.
Mr. Francis Wangusi, Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya urged ICT stakeholders to work together to establish synergies in capacity building initiatives for greater impact.
Mr. Wangusi advocated for partnerships like the ITU centres as a way of ensuring the success of capacity building. He urged governments to increase investments in the development of ICT capabilities in order to mitigate against looming digital skills gap.
“As ICT skills become critical in the digital economy, there is need to develop some global benchmarks for ICT skills, as well as some tools for assessment, training, and certification,” said Mr. Wangusi.
Dr. Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau called for continuous capacity building as the ICT sector is evolving very fast. He stressed on the importance of new skills requirements in the digital era and in achieving the SDGs.
The delegates implored universities to adopt new innovative teaching methodologies that are in line with the recent developments in ICT. The symposium urged governments to capacity build top-level executives on mobile technology and Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) to enable them support digital economy initiatives.
The symposium supported a strong legal environment that fosters long-term policies for the creation of capacity building programmes in ICTs. The delegates urged ICT stakeholders to integrate ICT capacity building in education. This would help provide educational content in new, better and more effective way.
The symposium awarded long-standing ITU partners like Cisco, the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI), and the United Kingdom Telecommunications Academy (UKTA). ITU also awarded Prof David Mellor for his personal contribution to building capacity building in the area of ICT while BRCK Education won the 2016 Young Innovators Award.
Two pre-events dedicated to "Capacity Building in Internet Governance" and "Regulators as Enablers and Consumers of Capacity Building" took place on September 5, 2016. The events enabled participants to map out strategies for capacity building in internet governance and to deliberate on innovative ways of regulation through upgrading of staff skills sets and training.
The outcome of the Symposium will provide strategic guidance to the national and international community on capacity building in the field of ICT, and on strengthening collaboration among the global ICT capacity building community.
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