ITSO Elects South African ICT Minister As Chairperson

For the first time, South Africa would be chairing the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation (ITSO) as its Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, becomes the elected chairperson.

The elections took place recently at the ITSO 38th Assembly of Parties in Washington DC, and South Africa will hold the Chairperson position for two years.

ITSO is an inter-governmental agency that facilitates the provision of public telecommunications services, including voice, data and video on a non-discriminatory basis. The Assembly of Parties is the governing body of ITSO, which has 150 member countries.

As ITSO's chairperson, Cwele's primarily responsibility is to advance the interests of the continent and developing nations in multilateral organisations and also to prioritise the strengthening of partnerships with various international organisations and strategic partners which will help the agency become responsive to technological changes and new developments.

According to Cwele: "It is our common goal to create a stronger ITSO. Therefore, in my two-year chairpersonship tenure, I will facilitate a constructive, informed and open interaction among members as well as ensure member countries preserve the common heritage in order to improve on critical social goals, such as the provision of bandwidth that will enable distribution of educational content, telemedicine and other important services which will benefit remote and rural communities."

The South African telecoms minister believes that ITSO will make deliberations that would ensure its relevance in the fourth industrial revolution. He added that the ability of satellite technology to provide increasingly fast connectivity to billions of people globally stands as the most important agenda of the fourth industrial revolution."

The CEO of Sentech, Mlamli Booi who is positive that having Cwele as the Chairperson of the ITSO would go a long way in assisting his organisation with the processes that are required for launching a satellite.


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