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Only investment in broadband can deepen growth in IoT, AI evolution—CTO

Secretary General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Mr. Shola Taylor, has warned of the risk of many countries missing out on the benefits of IoT, Big Data, AI and augmented reality innovation if they do not invest sufficiently in broadband and ICT services.

In his keynote speech at the opening of CTO ICT Forum’17 held in Maputo, Mozambique, the former senior staff of defunct NITEL, averred that “With the Internet of Things, we have a new environment conducive of opportunities for new forms of digital entrepreneurship or public service delivery,” he said. But he reminded that “there are still far too many without access to the Internet, who are unable to take advantage of the opportunities and benefits digital technologies have to offer.”

He spoke alongside Carlos Mesquita, Mozambique’s Minister of Transport and Communications; Dr Ema Chicoco, Chair of the Board of Mozambique’s Autoridade Reguladora das Comunicações; Patrick Masambu, Director-General, International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation; Malcolm Johnson, Deputy Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union.

The event, which was opened by His Excellency Carlos Agostinho do Rosário, Mozambique’s Prime Minister, was attended by ministers, regulators, national ICT agencies, industry executives, non-profit organisations and academia from the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, South Asia and the Pacific.

Taylor further warned that “We need to investigate new options to provide broadband, including low-orbit space solutions. To achieve this, more investment is essential. Of course, universal service funds must continue to invest and deliver on increasing access. Countries must invest in services for their citizens, and in the infrastructure to support the delivery of these services, or they will miss out on the benefits of IoT, Big Data and augmented reality technologies”.

Earlier in his remarks, Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario of Mozambique said “It’s important for us to continue developing infrastructures as well as information and communication technology services in order to ensure greater availability and coverage of online services”.

“Access is front and center; it is the first step towards a digital nation,” said Mr Johnson. “Big Data, Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and 5G will all shape our digital future. They are important steps on the journey towards a digital nation” and “we need to bring together technologists, regulators and policy makers, not only from the ICT sector, but all the sectors that will increasing depend on the technology, in order to address these challenges,” he added.