South Africa May Be First African Country To Host ITU Telecom World In 2018

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

South Africa may host the 2018 ITU Telecom World, the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) annual telecommunications and ICT industry event.

The potential for South Africa to host was made known at the 2017 ITU Telecom World in South Korea, with the 2018 telecom conference set to be the first time an African country has hosted the International Telecommunication Union’s prestigious event, subject to the conclusion of contractual arrangements, according to ITWeb.

To give an idea of the scale and popularity of the event in question, ITU Telecom World 2017 attracted over 9,100 participants, 458 exhibitors and 125 expert speakers, according to telecomworld.

South African telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele was present at the 2017 ITU Telecom World event in South Korea with a delegation aimed at securing next year’s conference.

The department of telecommunications and postal service has identified an ideal venue in the coastal city of Durban, which they believe fulfills all of the International Telecommunication Union’s requirements, ITWeb reports.

“SA put in a successful bid to host the 2018 ITU Telecom World Exhibition Conference, subject to the conclusion of all the contractual arrangements that should be in place. These include securing a suitable venue and agreeing on dates,” a department statement read, according to Techfinancials.

“In line with this, a delegation from the ITU will visit SA later this year to inspect the prospective venue and take forward the contracting discussions,” it added.

“The ITU World Telecom and Exhibition Conference has never been held on the African continent. The government believes hosting the conference on the continent will increase the participation of other African countries, thereby increasing the possibilities of investment in ICT on the continent.”

The department expects the event to attract 9,000 delegates and contribute an estimated $5.96 million to the economy.

Africa ready to host ITU Telecom World

Since the first ever ITU Telecom World in 1971, the African continent has never hosted the global event in 46 years of existence, and next year could finally change that.

Speaking during the 2017 ITU Telecom World conference, Cwele insisted that the time was right for an African host to take on the responsibilities of welcoming the delegates and guests of this worldwide event.

“Now is the time for Africans to host the global event to enable African countries fully benefit from the fourth industrial revolution, that is knowledge driven,” said Cwele, according to Thisdaylive.

“ITU in Africa will further boost technology development in the African continent and empower technology startups and small businesses to catch up with global trends, where technology is driving global advancements,” he added.

Tech and telecoms companies continue to inspire Africa and Africans through their unique service offering to the continent and the way in which they enhance people’s lives, and bringing an event such as the ITU Telecom World conference to South Africa would be an indication of how telecommunications has positively impacted Africa, and vice versa.