1.1. The APT Policy and Regulatory Forum was held from 26 to 28 May, 2008 in Paradise Island Resort, Maldives.
1.2. A total of 104 participants representing APT Members, Associate Members, Affiliate Members, International Organizations and the private sector attended the event.
II. Opening Session
The recitation of the Holy Quran was performed by Al Qari Ahmed Rasheed
2.2 The Opening remarks were given by Mr. Mohamed Nasih, Acting Chief Executive, Telecommunications Authority of Maldives (TAM). He welcomed all the distinguished guests to the gathering including the delegates of the APT Policy Forum as well as the exhibitors and participants of the Connect 2008.
He said that the Policy and Regulatory Forum is an important activity that benefits the whole membership of the Telecommunity as it creates a platform for meaningful discussions in addressing the emerging issues faced in today’s dynamic telecommunications arena.
Further, he pointed out that the launching of the Connect series of telecom expos would create opportunities for regional cooperation in the telecom and ICT business sectors for the countries to pave the way for technology transfer, information exchange and building partnerships. He added that the Connect 2008 was the first of its kind and was planned to commemorate this year’s the World Telecommunication and Information Society day.
He appreciated the honour extended to all the delegates by the presence of His Excellency President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom which demonstrated his keen interest in the development of telecommunication sector in the Maldives as well as in the region as a whole.
He also thanked the Minister of Transport and Communication, Hon. Mohamed Saeed for his valuable advice, continued inspiration and encouragement in moving the telecom sector forward.
He mentioned about Maldives’s long term association with the APT and thanked the Secretary General, Mr. Toshiyuki Yamada for his rigorous work and continued support.
He expressed his gratitude to the local operators, Wataniya Telecom Maldives, Dhiraagu Pvt Ltd, and Focus Infocom for their sponsorship and support. He also thanked the various Government organizations such as Maldives National Defence Force, Maldives Customs Service, Department of Immigration and Emigration and Maldives Airports Company as they provided support for the meeting in various forms.
He extended his appreciation to the management of the Paradise island resort for making excellent preparations and also for making great efforts to make the guests feel at home. He then thanked the Business Image Group Pvt Ltd as they were the official organizers for the Connect 2008 and the upcoming series of telecom expos.
He pointed out that both the APT Policy Forum (PRF-08) and the Connect 2008 were initiated by the former Chief Executive of TAM, Mr. Mohamed Amir and appreciated his efforts for these events and his contribution to the TAM during his term of service.
He concluded his opening remarks by thanking his team for their hard work dedication and the excellent team spirit which made the events a big success. He wished everyone a pleasant stay in the Maldives.
2.3 The Welcome address was delivered by Mr.Toshiyuki Yamada, Secretary
General, APT. He congratulated the opening of the Official Telecom and ICT Expo: Connect 2008 and the APT Policy and Regulatory Forum and said that both the APT and the participants are honored by the presence of the President of Maldives.
He thanked the Government of Maldives for hosting the Forum in conjunction with the Connect 2008 and also expressed his gratefulness to the Telecommunications Authority of Maldives (TAM).
He pointed out that by hosting these events, the Government has taken a very important step to provide a great opportunity for all participants to meet the regulators, top operators and service providers of the region as well as the vendors of Maldives. It would create a vibrant market place where buyers and sellers could do business together and showcase their latest products and services, witness global industry trends and learn about industry practices.
He added that the forum participants will definitely benefit from this opportunity and will be able to update themselves with latest developments of the Maldivian telecom and ICT sector. In addition, the participants for both the events would have an opportunity for networking among themselves.
In addition, he pointed out that this forum is a regular event and a highly attended program of the APT which addresses key emerging issues under the policy and regulatory area of the work programme.
In conclusion, he extended his thanks to the President of Maldives for his kind presence and to the Government of Maldives as well as the Telecommunications Authority of Maldives for their generosity in hosting this important event.
2.4 A special publication on “Tharaqqeege Dhuveli” (Publication on the Development of Transportation and Communications in Maldives) was presented to the President of Maldives by Hon.Mohamed Saeed, Minister of Transport and Communication, Maldives. A plaque of appreciation was also presented to the President of Maldives by Mr. Yamada, Secretary General of the APT.
The Inaugural Address was delivered by H.E. Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom,
President of Republic of Maldives. He thanked the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. Mohamed Saeed, and Mr. Mohamed Nasir, Chief Executive TAM for inviting him to inaugurate the APT Policy and Regulatory Forum and the Connect 2008 Telecom and ICT Expo.
He also thanked the Minister and Mr. Toshiyuki Yamada for presenting him with the book and the commemorative plaque respectively. He said that it was a privilege for Maldives to have the opportunity to host the event. He declared the forum open and wished all the delegates a fruitful meeting and an enjoyable stay in the Maldives.
He expressed confidence that the new Secretary General of the APT, Mr. Toshiyuki Yamada will herald a new and exciting era in Maldives’ relations with the APT. He congratulated the Minister of Transport and communication, Mr. Mohamed Saeed, and his staff, and the members of the Regulatory Board, the Chief Executive and members of staff at the TAM for brining such a regional forum to the Maldives.
He said that it was a historic day in the development of telecoms and ICT in the Maldives as the Connect 2008 was the very first expo in the Maldives. He said that the participation of leading operators and service providers, as well as equipment suppliers, system integrators and telecoms and ICT consultants added to the importance of this expo. He mentioned that TAM should be congratulated for its vision and initiative to hold a national telecom and ICT exposition. He also extended his thanks to the Business Image Group for its pivotal role in making the event a reality. He highlighted some of the major developments of the telecom sector in the Maldives and pointed out that the biggest revolution had been the rapid rise in prominence and prevalence of mobile phones in the Maldives. However, he mentioned that the biggest challenge facing the telecom sector of the Maldives is to find the solutions to further bridging the gaps and disparities in service provision both in Male’ and the rest of the country. He called on the concerned Government authorities, service providers and industry participants to give a high priority to the improvement of services in the Atolls. He stressed on the introduction of technological advances, provision of high speed internet, better telecommunications facilities and competitive tariff levels to bridge the gap. He concluded his address by emphasizing that the Connect 2008 expo would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase both products and talents in the industry, and bring buyers and sellers to the same platform.
The Keynote address was delivered by Hon. Mohamed Saeed, Minister of Transport and Communication, Maldives. He said that Maldives is not a new venue for APT conferences but it is the first time that the APT Policy and Regulatory Forum was being hosted with such a large attendance. He added that Maldives have been following all the activities of the APT and has intensified its participation in the APT events.
He mentioned that the Policy and Regulatory Forum is a very important activity that APT had initiated and conducted over the years. The development of the telecommunication industry worldwide has been made successful through strengthening of the regulatory regimes and the application of appropriate policies to create environments favorable for investments. The formulated policies should provide the relevant flexibility to foster and guide the introduction of modern and state of the art technologies into our countries. The regulatory framework must accordingly be transparent to increase the confidence of all investors in the markets.
He thanked His Excellency, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom for accepting the invitation to inaugurate the event and also for gracing the occasion by his presence. He extended a special welcome to Mr. Yamada, Secretary General, APT and thanked him for selecting Maldives as the venue and also thanked him for his assistance and support.
He pointed out that the objective of the Connect series was to create opportunities for strengthening Business-to-Business ties among the APT countries, strengthen cooperation in transfer of technologies and to work towards introducing solutions to consumer markets.
He concluded his address by thanking His Excellency, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom for his thought provoking statement and for taking the time to attend the opening ceremony. He wished all the delegates of APT Policy and Regulatory Forum a pleasant stay and successful deliberations and also wished all the exhibitors and visitors to Connect 2008 success in doing business in the Maldives.
A group photo was taken after the Opening Session.
All delegates visited the CONNECT 2008: The Maldives National Telecom and