South Sudan has become the 49th member of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), joining a specialized African Union agency that deals with telecommunications services.
When signing the membership agreement, South Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Beatrice Khamisa was joined by the Director-General of the National Communications Authority of South Sudan, Eng. Napoleon Adok Gai.
Mr. John Omo, ATU Secretary-General lauded the decision. “Collaboration among African countries and regional organizations accelerates the development of ICT in the continent and provides a platform for exchanging information, expertise and technology relating to info-communications for the benefit of all,” he said.
As a specialized agency of the African Union in the field of telecommunications/ICT, ATU represents its members’ interests at global decision-making ICT conferences and provides a forum for stakeholders involved in ICTs to formulate effective strategies to improve access to information infrastructure and services in the continent.
South Sudan will be joining 48 other African countries and 54 ICT companies under the ATU umbrella.
The decision comes at a strategic time when for the first time, Africa will host the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-21) in November 2021 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, South Sudan’s admission into ATU presents the potential of strengthening the African common positions in the conference as well as others in future.
In her remarks, Ambassador Beatrice Khamisa, South Sudan’s top diplomat expressed her country’s openness to partnerships, investments, and innovations in ICT that will create employment opportunities and accelerate the young nation’s development. “It has been a long wait for South Sudan to realize this important achievement in its quest to establish itself as an ICT centric model country,” she said.
With 49 countries on board, ATU hopes to guide the continent into a future that is more connected and exposed to the full benefits of ICT. This is even as the Internet World Stats observed that by 2019, Africa had experienced an above-average Internet penetration rate at 39.8 percent population against the global average of 57.3 percent.