(ITU) (Yonhap Interview) ITU development director says aid without business not sustainable
By Kim Eun-jung
BUSAN, Nov. 6 (Yonhap) -- Global tech leaders like South Korea need to step forward to help developing nations narrow the digital divide because such efforts can open more business opportunities for their industries as well, the development sector chief of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said Thursday.
"I would like to have the Korean private sector becoming more active in the development sector. It's an opportunity for them to do business," Brahima Sanou, director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau, told Yonhap News Agency. "Aid without business cannot be sustainable."
Brahima Sanou, director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau, speaks during an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Nov. 6, 2014. Sanou is in Busan to attend the 19th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. (Yonhap)
Sanou, a native of Burkina Faso, encouraged Korean companies to seize chances to work with the government and the ITU to support technology infrastructure development in emerging economies and find new markets.
"Myself coming from a developing country, I don't believe in aid. It's just part of the development."
While hosting the ITU's plenipotentiary conference over the past three weeks, the South Korean government signed agreements with several developing nations interested in the ICT sector development, including Ghana, Poland and Nicaragua.
His bureau on Thursday signed an agreement with the South Korean government to assist developing countries in migrating from analogue to digital television broadcasting, after a decade of collaboration in the area.
"We are seeking to put the right policy in place, to have the guideline on transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. When you have your guideline, program, strategy and plan, now you need your industry to invest," Sanou said. The Korean government isn't investing in the equipment but rather creating an environment for investment, he said.
The biggest challenge for the ITU, he said, is keeping pace with fast-evolving information and communications technology to facilitate the industry development.
"The greatest challenge sometimes is to have the right policy and regulation put in place by the government in order to open the way for the industry to invest in a predictable manner," the trained engineer said. "You don't go invest money unless you're sure that you're going to get your money back. You should have a very stable and predictable legal framework."
The ITU should constantly update its legal framework and global standard for new gadgets and services in a way that promotes efficiency and interoperability, he said.
"If you don't have your legal framework evolving as fast as the technology, then you become a burden and you become a problem for technology," said Sanou, who was elected to a second four-year term during this year's conference.
Another task for the international body is educating and sharing the technology with developing nations with poor infrastructure.
Developing countries do not understand what the speed of evolution of technology is, he said, calling for collaborative works between ITU member states.
Sanou said his bureau will continue to focus on improving digital capacity, revising the legal and policy framework, and developing infrastructure in the least developed nations in the next four years.
The bureau will also support island countries in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea to facilitate communication via ICT development for better access during natural disasters, he added.