Distinguished ladies and gentlemen
It is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to all of the participants attending BakuTel 2016, the 22nd Azerbaijan International Exhibition and Conference on Telecommunications and Information Technologies in Baku.
The 22nd edition of BakuTel, which I am attending for second time, celebrates the outstanding ICT policy development achievements of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Republic is on the way to diversify its economy away from energy resources to create new sources of growth and quality jobs.
The development of the information and technology sector is a key aspect of Azerbaijan’s future, according to the 2012 “Azerbaijan 2020: Future Look” concept paper. Indeed, the ICT is becoming at some point a more important source of national income than the oil and natural gas sector. Today, Internet is one of the integral parts of life for many Azerbaijanis.
The ITU remains committed to connecting the world, so that everyone has access to the full benefits of ICTs and can harness their vast potential in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and shaping the post-2015 development agenda. This is why we were instrumental in creating the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, along with our sister UN agency, UNESCO, back in 2010, and we are grateful for the support of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and High Technologies.
Azerbaijan’s achievements in the field of ICT are driving socio-economic development in the country. After setting a course for turning “black gold” into “human gold”, in the words of President Ilham Aliyev at the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003, Azerbaijan has become one of the leading states of the region.
BakuTel has been and remains the annual forum of choice for industry leaders to come together and brainstorm on the future of ICTs, as well for the private sector to showcase their latest achievements and future plans.
BakuTel 2016 is further strong evidence of the importance of the ICT sector in Azerbaijan, and participants can expect to see many examples of cutting-edge applications, services and solutions, which will bring benefits across all sectors of the digital economy, including health, education, transportation, government and culture.
This year BakuTel plans signing of some significant bilateral agreements and holding high-level meetings, in particular 4th meeting of RCC Working Group on the Development of Information Society, will present, among other, promising projects, such as “Audio library for visually impaired children” and “Digitalization of museums”.
Let me therefore wish all of you and BakuTel 2016 event itself every possible success.
ITU Secretary - General