October 30th, 2019

Digital transformation is within reach, but urgent investment is needed for further development

LONDON, October 30 2018 – The Commonwealth ICT Forum 2018 hosted by the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation in collaboration with the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago took place over three days at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad from October 1 to 3, 2018. Delegates from member countries within the Commonwealth and other ICT stakeholders gathered for discussions around the theme: Digital Transformation for Development: People, Processes and Technology.

The Forum provided a context for information sharing and knowledge exchange in relation to existing and emerging technologies, regulatory and policy issues, as well as strategies for effecting change and fostering national development through the use of Information and Communication Technology.

The Forum sessions took a sequential approach in addressing the various subject areas. Session One outlined the relevance of broadband planning in changing the socio-economic landscape and quality of life. This session also introduced the significance of collaboration in realizing development plans and led seamlessly into Session Two, which encouraged amenable and open dialogue toward creating a favourable investment and development culture. Sessions Three to Five focused on the orbiting impact of Net Neutrality, Over-The-Top Services and Universal Service Funds.

Day two concentrated heavily of the issue of data protection and privacy, and Cybersecurity beginning with the session Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation. The remaining sessions on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Opportunities; General Data Protection Regulation; and Artificial Intelligence – Definition, Opportunities and Challenges, which centered on the issue of consumers’ rights to personal data protection while discussing advances made in each sector; consumer and industry benefits; and leveraging strengths to avert risk.

Day three wrapped with sessions on Spectrum Management and the upcoming WRC-19 conference; the Internet of Things; ICT Innovation – Youth in ICTs and a final session on The Way Forward. Primary themes arising out of the three days of discussion were collaboration, capacity building, innovation and political will. Participants were urged to innovate and approach challenges with new perspective. The digital landscape has changed the functionality of the world and governments have a responsibility to prepare and equip citizens for these imminent changes.

No country can work alone when it comes to ICTs. Collectively we all need to help each other and work together to make this a suscess”, said Gisa Fuatai Purcell, Secretary-General of the CTO. She further added that “This forum will assist the CTO and other ICT stakeholders in defining the global ICT agenda and specific actions that need to be taken. It will also provide a framework for future cooperation activities.

“Collaboration remains an important element in the discussion toward digital transformation. Collaboration can manifest in the form of information sharing and transfer of knowledge either through discourse or by observing neighbouring countries/nations”, said Honourable Sir Joseph Bossano, Minister for Economic Development, Telecommunications & the GSB

The issue of cybersecurity affects all countries. As countries make efforts to be better connected, the risks of cybersecurity problems increase. It is therefore necessary to have global cooperation and introduce cybersecurity measures to combat the increased incidences of cybercrimes. Cybersecurity problems must be seen as global problems. Cybersecurity is an important part of CTO’s activities and they will provide participants with information based on their activities”, said Dr Martin Koyabe, Manager, Research and Consultancy, CTO.

The forum concluded that the CTO should further support its members to address the proposed recommendations by facilitating ongoing communication, possibly through online forums, to allow members to share their experiences, best practices and solutions. Equally the discussion on building capacity centered on identifying the direction of growth of ICTs and making a determined push to educate the citizens to get them ready for the next level of ICT opportunities. The ICT Forum was identified as an effective tool towards enhancing capacity building within member countries.

For more information please contact Osman Siddiqui, o.siddiqui@cto.int or +44 20 8600 3820.

About the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is the oldest and largest Commonwealth intergovernmental organisation in the field of information and communication technologies. With a diverse membership spanning developed and least developed countries, small island developing states, and more recently also the private sector and civil society, the CTO aims to become a trusted partner for sustainable development for all through ICTs. More information about us here.