Ethiopia will seek compensation from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for the cost it has incurred while preparing to host the eighth World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC).
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has decided to bestow the honor on Rwanda, where the event will take place from June 6 through 16, 2022.
The conference was originally scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from November 8 to 19, 2021.
The conference focuses on advancing global connectivity and accelerating the attainment of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through six key enablers; viz., partnerships, youth, innovation, leadership, financing and inclusion.
However, the State of Emergency decree imposed throughout Ethiopia following the war in northern Ethiopia necessitated changing of venue from Addis Ababa to Kigali.
Convened every four years since 1985, the eighth WTDC conference – to be held for the first time on the African continent –is expected to attract some 5,000 delegates.
Following an agreement signed in November 2020 between Ethiopia’s Ministry of Innovation & Technology, and the ITU, a national organizing committee co-chaired by the Ministry of Innovation &Technology, and the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), has been making preparations together with ITU experts.
According to officials at the Ministry, the ITU had conducted an evaluation in October 2021 to examine Ethiopia‘s preparedness when it came to accommodation, reliable technology and infrastructure, among other facilities.
However, security concerns coupled with the work of “politically-motivated lobbyists” led to a change of venue despite assurances by Ethiopian authorities that Addis was ready to host the event.
State Minister of Innovation and Technology, Huria Ali told The Reporter that Ethiopia had been working assiduously to convince ITU officials that Addis Ababa was far from the conflict zone, and is fit to play host to the event.
As an illustration, Huria referred to the January 2022 African Union summit that Addis hosted without an incident.
With Ethiopian authorities’ persuasion having failed to influence ITU officials, Ethiopia will be allowed to reclaim expenses incurred in hopes of hosting the conference, Huria added.