STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF AFRICAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION, MR.
JAN MUTAI, AT THE AT THE 1ST ORDINARY SESSION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL MEETING
IN NAIROBI, KENYA ON 20 - 22ND JUNE 2000
· Our Guest of Honour, Mr. Samuel Chepkong'a, the Director General
of the Communication Commission of Kenya;
· Hon. Ministers here present;
· Chairman of Administrative Council;
· Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
· Distinguished Representatives of OAU, ITU, RASCOM and AFRALTI;
· Distinguished Councillors, Delegates and Observers;
· Ladies and Gentlemen
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to welcome you to our first Administrative
Council Meeting in the new millennium. For visitors to Kenya it is a special
'karibu' to our presently dry-spelled country and to the bustling city of Nairobi.
Please feel at home, among your brothers and sisters in the continent.
I wish to sincerely thank our Guest of Honour today, Mr. Samuel Chepkong'a
who is the Director General of the Communication Commission of Kenya - the telecoms
regulatory authority for Kenya. We appreciate your interest and support to the
Union including finding time in your very busy schedule to come and give a Keynote
Address and officially open our meeting. At this juncture, may I also express
our appreciation for the support we received from you and your staff in preparation
and sponsorship of this event. We extend similar appreciation to the Managing
Director of Telkom Kenya Ltd, Mr. Augustine Cheserem and his staff for providing
Our Guest of Honour, Sir, please convey our gratitude to the Government and
people of Kenya for hosting the technical wing and temporary headquarters of
the Union and for coming to its support in times of need. We look forward to
continued fruitful co-operation, for many years to come.
Our GOH, Distinguished Councillors, we meet today with an extensive work programme
which will be conducted in a three day time frame, in a business like manner.
We have chosen this approach in order to conserve resources, and to introduce
private sector practices, since one of the priority items on the Agenda is the
Launch of Associate membership recruitment drive. Private sector participation
in regional and global organisation is now the norm. This was recognised by
the Ministers for Communication when they adopted the new enabling Constitution
and Convention of the Union in the last Conference of Plenipotentiaries held
in Cape Town, South Africa. The Ministers also resolved that the scale of contributions
for the new Associate Member category, shall be based on that of the respective
Distinguished Councillors, another unique agenda is that of the recruitment
of new Management Team members that will join the Secretary General in steering
the process of restructuring and delivery of services of real value to members.
Seasoned business and telecom professionals will be required to head the new
directorates (or sectors) of Development and Technology. Also to be recruited
are managers for a proposed Business Services-Unit and head of Finance and Administration.
Distinguished Councillors, we aspire to be an 'e-organisation' in keeping with
the global trends of 'e-business' and 'e-government'. Thus we have provided
in the capital expenditure budget for installation of an 'intranet' services
network to link the Secretariat with its members. The proposals include plans
for piloting and eventual deployment of a video-conference network for the Union.
We shall be trying this form of meetings-platform because we believe it would
save on airline and hotel costs which presently limit participation by many
of our members in regional and global treaty-making and standards-setting conferences
(e.g. ITU & WTO).
Distinguished Councillors, our Agenda as required in the Convention covers
all the basic work of an Administrative Council including :
- Review of activities of last Financial Year 1999-2000
- ATU's Strategic Plan
- Programme Budget for coming financial 2000/2001.
However, what will be different is the approach and structure we have used
in the documentation. We have adopted an 'Action Matrix' format which gives
greater clarity on progress to date and accountabilities and responsibilities
for next steps towards full implementation. We are keen to develop and use innovative
ways of tracking and accelerating implementation of the decisions and resolutions
that we make in our meetings.
Distinguished Councillors, we shall also be challenged in this meeting to find
solutions for strengthening the financial base of the Union. It is a given fact
that we would all like Africa to have a voice in the international treaty-making
and standards-setting conferences. But we cannot do this if we do not have strong
continental Institutions to co-ordinate 'common proposals' for Africa. The other
continents in the world have found answers, ways and means for financially supporting
their continental organisations. We only need to review the contributions of
CEPT for Europe, APT for Asia, CITEL for Americas at the last World Radio Conference
in Turkey, May this year, to see how 'treaty-making' is done in the era of globalisation.
ATU could not participate despite having booked tickets and hotel accommodation
because it lacked funds to do so. At the same time, Member States of this Council
owed the Union more than US$ 1.3 million in arrears as at 31.05.2000. The way
forward is clear for African participation in the global arena. We have to strengthen
the financial base of the Union so that it can fulfil its vision and mission
of making Africa an equal and active participant in the Global Information Economy.
In this regard, the Council has a Key and pivotal role to play in fulfilling
obligations to the Union themselves and in sensitising similar response from
Members in their respective regions.
Finally, may I thank you, Distinguished Councillors, for your tremendous support
to the Secretariat and wish you fruitful deliberation in the next three days
and concrete actions thereafter. We are at your service at all times.