The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today launched the Road to Addis, a series of events organized to build momentum towards the 2021 World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-21), scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 8 to 19 November 2021.
ITU also announced its new youth initiative – “Generation Connect: our future is just a click away” – to increase youth engagement in preparation for a global youth summit that will precede WTDC-21. The Road to Addis series will serve as a platform to discuss key themes to be addressed at WTDC-21.
It will focus on advancing global connectivity and accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through six key enablers: partnerships, youth, innovation, leadership, financing, and inclusion.
WTDC is a unique opportunity for the global community to develop innovative approaches and forge new models of collaboration to accelerate connectivity and digital solutions in this final Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs. “I want to thank the Government of Ethiopia for bringing WTDC-21 to Addis Ababa next year,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
“As we enter the Decade of Action, WTDC-21 is the opportunity to mobilize the global community around the power of digital transformation and reshape the connectivity agenda to achieve the SDGs.”
“We are honoured and excited that Ethiopia will be the first African country to hold WTDC,” said Ahmedin Mohammad, State Minister at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia.
“The decision to hold WTDC-21 in Africa for the first time is a testament to Africa’s and Ethiopia’s prioritization of digital development as a springboard to sustainable development. The Ethiopian Government has shown its commitment to the digital transformation agenda by endorsing Ethiopia’s first Digital Transformation Strategy in June 2020 followed by a series of regulations for its implementation including the Electronic Transaction Proclamation.
“The Ethiopian Government remains committed to ensure the Road to Addis series of events hosted by ITU are successful in building momentum towards WTDC-21 and shaping the overall digital agenda.”
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau said: “We must involve youth in the conversation: young people are powerful drivers of innovation, highly motivated to improve their own lives and the lives of their families and communities. Our new youth initiative, Generation Connect, gives them a voice and the opportunity to be empowered, engaged and to participate to advance the global digital development agenda for present and future generations.”
Especially in developing countries, young people represent a large percentage of the population. In Africa, 60% of the entire continent is aged below 25 and youth aged 15-24 represent 20% of its population.
Generation Connect joins the existing initiatives, such as Generation Equality and Generation Unlimited, to put the voices of youth at the forefront. It will play a key role in shaping the preparations for the global youth summit preceding WTDC-21.