ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao visited Iraq this week to encourage investment in Iraq’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector and attend the launch of the country’s ‘Du3M 2025’ initiative for ICT development.
During the first official visit of his second term, Mr Zhao met Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to express his encouragement of Iraq’s progress in ICT development and to learn more about the ‘Du3M 2025’ initiative.
Zhao was briefed on the initiatives’ targets in areas such as universal access, e-government, digital financial inclusion, and the promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
This initiative “is the blueprint for Iraq’s digital future,” Mr Zhao said in a speech before several government ministers, the Chief of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Trade and top officials from Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia as well as executives from internet services providers, Iraq’s three major operators and many senior experts from multiple industries, universities, and other stakeholders.
The Du3M 2025 initiative “comes at a time when efforts to stabilize the country are paying off,” said Secretary-General Zhao.
“ICT is an important tool for development and for peace,” said Zhao. He urged the audience to focus their efforts on “the 4 Is” – infrastructure, investment, innovation, and inclusiveness – and called on the ITU family and the industry to continue to help and invest in Iraq.
As the lead United Nations agency for ICT, one of ITU’s priorities is to connect the unconnected, leveraging the power of ICT to accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals so that no one, anywhere, is left offline.
The Secretary-General also met Iraq’s Minister of Communications as well as two Vice Ministers. He expressed his appreciation for the development of ICT in Iraq in the recent past, despite the difficult time suffered from the wars, and he appreciated Iraq’s vision and plans to be developed in the future. He encouraged the Prime Minister and the relevant authorities to create a good environment to support investments in ICT. He also encouraged Iraq to engage more actively in ITU activities, and support SMEs.
Mr Zhao is the first ITU Secretary-General to visit Iraq.
*ITU Member States adopted a new resolution at the Plenipotentiary Conference last November in Dubai to support the Du3M 2025 initiative.
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