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Digital Inclusion

13 African states join ITU council, Zimbabwe in key role

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The International Telecommunications Union has elected its 48-member council which aims to enforce global regulation of information and communication technologies. Thirteen African countries were elected into the council while Zimbabwe was appointed to a key position as the Director of Telecommunications Development Bureau.

The elected members will serve on the council from 2023-2026 and the 13 African countries are Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, Tanzania, Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa.

African countries appointed to the specialized agency of the United Nations are entrusted with driving digital transformation as well as other matters related to ICT. These elections will be beneficial to the continent as it places African states in key decision-making positions at the ITU.

The ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference and the Administrative Council govern the ITU. The Plenipotentiary Conference is the decision-making body which determines the direction of the union and its activities.

The council acts as the union's governing body in the interval between Plenipotentiary Conferences and its role is to consider broad telecommunication policy issues, ensuring the ITU's activities, policies and strategies fully respond to the ever-changing telecommunications environment.

African inclusion

In a tweet, South African Communications and Digital Technologies minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni congratulated all the African states that were elected and re-elected.

"After months of intense lobbying, South Africa yesterday was re-elected to its seat on the ITU Council, which is currently taking place in Bucharest, Romania," the minister tweeted.

South Africa, however, could not secure a seat on the Radio Regulations Board (RRB), the minister said.

"Accepting this hard-won victory, South Africa will ensure it redoubles its efforts to also regain a seat on the RRB at the next Plenipotentiary Conference, which will be held in four years," she continued.

Want to know more about digital inclusion in Africa? Check out our dedicated Digital Inclusion content channel here on Connecting Africa.

Furthermore, the 12 members of the RRB were elected at the Plenipotentiary Conference. They will perform their duties independently and on a part-time basis while meeting up to four times a year in Geneva, Switzerland.

The ITU recently released a report called Strategies Towards Universal Smartphone Access, which found that around 2.7 billion people globally still cannot or do not access the Internet which means a third of the population does not have access to critical information and opportunities.

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*Top image source: ITU Twitter account.

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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