The African Telecommunications Union just concluded the 1st African Preparatory Meeting ahead of the 2023 World Radiocommunications Conference (APM-1 for WRC-23).
The preparatory meeting hosted by the Government of the Republic of Cameroon and which ran between 3rd and 7th Aug, 2020 was the beginning of a rigorous process aimed at examining the WRC-23 ITU Preparatory Work Plan which includes; institutional arrangements, key events and milestones, expectations and role of regions and membership and align the same with the ATU Preparatory Work Plan for the forum.
Speaking during the opening forum, Chief Guest and Cameroon’s Telecommunication and Posts Minister, S.E. Mme. Libom Li Likeng nee Mendomo Awoumwele Minette regretted the special conditions that have forced the Union to hold the forum virtually and urged members to respond to the needs of radiocommunication in Africa.
“We need to develop common statutes as members of the Union and invest in ICT infrastructure towards developing our capacity to handle our common needs,” she said.
The forum which also aimed to appoint the leadership for the ATU WRC-23 Working Groups further recognized the accomplishment of the preceding WRC-19 whose success saw over 3400 participants representing 163 member states and 129 organizations in the global event.
The conference opened the path for new technologies such as IMT 2020 or 5G, high altitude platforms and large constellation of non-geo stationary sachets.
“Outcomes of WRC-23 will accelerate the digital transition of economies and industries and digital inclusion of millions of people throughout the continent,” said the ATU Secretary General, John OMO, who also noted that the forum’s resolutions should additionally provide ground for the implementation of the ATU strategic plan relating to radiocommunication, as well as the African Union Covid-19 action plan.
Today, virtual digital technology has become important for economies, societies, and individuals.
Equally, digital exclusion is continuously preventing people from working, studying and even accessing basic health care information.
The ATU responsively encompasses a strategy for the introduction of digital sound broadcasting in Africa as part of a joint initiative of ATU and ITU to optimize the plan that regulates the use of FM sound broadcasting section in Africa and Europe, named as the Geneva 84 plan.
The APM-1 for WRC-23 also saw other thematic areas addressed including: the role of satellites in relation to the COVID-19 crisis in Africa together with the need for forging 5G Ecosystem Future Satellite. Speaking on the COVID-19 scenario, EMEA Satellite Operator’s (ESOA) representative, Natalia Vincente, applauded the fact that satellite broadcasting is being used to ensure connectivity of schools for children with many operators partnering with their governments to broadcast educational content on dedicated channels.
As a result, connectivity requirements have also increased across multiple countries in Africa and for humanitarian missions including NGOs and United Nation agencies.
Closing the event, forum delegates set the date of the next meeting (APM23-2) and agreed to hold the same in the Western region of Africa in Benin either physically or virtually depending on the turn of the pandemic.