The technical preparatory meeting for the 10th Meeting of Communications Ministers from the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) was held last 20-22 November in Dili, Timor-Leste.
As permanent secretariat of the Meeting, the Association of Communications and Telecommunications Regulators of the Portuguese Language Countries (ARCTEL-CPLP) and the members’ focus points (officials from ministries responsible for communications and communications authorities from each country) met to enable an assessment by the CPLP ministers in charge of communications. Their approval means they can become common CPLP strategy projects to promote widespread ICT use in the community, which the members commit to implementing.
The “Digital Agenda Study” was presented during the meeting. Also, a first document with cross-cutting measures applied to all CPLP activity sectors was introduced on a parallel basis; they are based on four essential pillars: electronic communications, digital services, digital security, and digital citizenship and literacy.
The projects to identify and present to the Ministers’ Meeting will have to have a wide-ranging impact in the CPLP, be achievable and financially viable, not compromise national and individual strategies of each member state, nor conflict with regional obligations applicable to the CPLP member states.
In this context, nine central orientations were identified:
- increase the population’s digital literacy and reduce the digital divide;
- promote the development of broadband networks;
- boost promotion of electronic communications in remote areas;
- assure a close relationship between citizens and public administration;
- enhance the efficiency of public administration;
- promote health care quality through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs);
- foster research, science and development;
- promote ICT use in the teaching system;
- promote closer relations between CPLP countries.
Regarding identification of projects, the following strategy lines were set, around which projects should be constituted:
1. connectivity/broadband strategy;
2. R&D and innovation strategy;
3. Electronic commerce and digital entertainment strategy;
4. Digital citizenship and literacy strategy.
The Sustainable Villages for Development (SV4D), CPLP Communications Observatory and Smart Harbours initiatives are already considered to be under way.
The SV4D project in Cabo Verde, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe is meant to promote the creation of infrastructure enabling network access in remote areas of those countries. The Communications Observatory complies vital information about the sector from each of the members, an essential basis for any project. The Smart Harbours initiative aims to boost port activity and make it more profitable so that all its economic potential can be exploited within the community.
New projects are also on the table which envisage consolidating a common digital market in the Community: the creation of a CPLP payments system; implementation of an international communications infrastructure for the CPLP – CPLP underwater cable; and creation of a fund to support entrepreneurship, research and development for the CPLP.
Also, a study concerning universal service has entered the second phase with support from the International Communication Union (ITU). The aim is to work out common strategies and measures adjusted to the reality of each country which can narrow the digital divide and ensure network access, promoting more territorial cohesion and economic development based on ICTs.
A new meeting was scheduled for March, along with the ARCTEL General Assembly.
In light of the resolutions from the last Meeting of CPLP Communications Ministers, consolidated with the signing of the Maputo Declaration, the 10th Meeting will begin by taking stock of the sector’s main challenges and how public policies deal with them.
The 10th Meeting of CPLP Communications Ministers in 2018 is thus prepared to be a productive encounter with contributions to the sector and market as well as community development.