Smart digital development was one of the core themes of ITU Telecom World 2018.
Smart digital development means using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve people’s lives, said Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), in a video interview.
‘We have to make sure that we use ICTs to facilitate the future of the humanity.’ – Brahima Sanou, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU
“When you look at the situation of the ICTs today in the digital economy, we need definitely to use them to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he says.
Leveraging ICTs to support sustainable development efforts requires a “people-centered” approach, Sanou says.
“We need to work to give a human face to the ICTs,” he says. “How can we do that? We have to use the ICTs to accelerate the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in agriculture, in education, in health, and also, to make sure that we create value to our societies and our communities.”
Sanou emphasizes the role of ICTs in empowering people from developing countries, women, youth, people with disabilities, and older persons.
ICTs can also help governments manage scarce resources, such as water, and aid in development efforts, Sanou says.
“By 2030, we will have very big cities, particularly in developing countries,” he says. “We need to use ICTs to make sure that . . . we can manage the resources in those cities.”
ICTs can help support transportation networks and electricity grids, among other key systems for development, Sanou says.
“We have to make sure that we use ICTs to facilitate the future of the humanity,” he says.
ITU is cooperating with other UN agencies and the private sector to use ICTs to achieve objectives in areas including health care, government services, education and commerce, Sanou says.
“That is very important for us, as BDT, to make sure that we work with other agencies to use ICTs for sustainable development,” he says.
BDT launched a number of products at Telecom World on key ICT issues, Sanou says.
BDT released a report on the opportunities and challenges of fifth-generation mobile technologies (5G), which “will really change the way we are delivering the ICT services,” he says.
A second product is a report on national cybersecurity guidelines, Sanou says.
“As we go into the digital economy, as everything relies on the ICTs, we need to have a secured cyberspace for business, for our children, for our communities,” he says.
The m-Powering Development Initiative Report 2018: turning opportunities into reality was also launched at Telecom. “As you will see from the many initiatives and projects described in this report very real progress is being made. As a result, the lives of millions are being changed for the better in countries around the world,” he highlights.
BDT also presented the work done to create unique digital identity systems and assist countries in developing and implementing national digital identification initiatives, Sanou says.
“[ITU Telecom World 2018] is giving us an opportunity to exchange with others, to tell them what we are doing and all the products we are putting in place . . . [to] have a better world,” he says.