Your Excellencies,
Distinguished participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is a privilege and great honour   to be part of this esteemed gathering for the Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 in this captivating City of Dubai.  On behalf of the Republic of Zimbabwe, please allow me to express my utmost gratitude to the United Arab Emirates for hosting this event. I am also obliged to render my sincere felicitations to the ITU management led by the Secretary General Mr. Houlin Zhao for organizing this well prepared conference. 

I believe that this conference is a landmark occasion where we take stock of our achievements towards the vision 2020 and   whose outcomes will map our aspirations towards the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.  For Zimbabwe, the year 2030 is a watershed year as we have also set ourselves to have attained upper middle income country status by 2030.   

With regards to the Vison 2020 targets, we are doing our best in fostering growth of the ICT sector where we have witnessed unprecedented growth in the use of internet bandwidth; achieved 86% 3G population coverage. In our quest for an inclusive information society, we are using our Universal Service Fund to roll out Community Information Centres in all corners of the country, connecting schools and health centres mostly in rural and remote areas. On the demand side of things, we have deliberately directed our efforts on reducing cost of services by a maintaining a cost based tariff regime, mandating passive infrastructure sharing and establishing a National Internet Exchange Point, which will double up as a Regional Internet Exchange Point. We have also embarked on massive training, education and awareness programmes for broadband consumers targeting the remote areas so as to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs. On the innovation front, we have started disbursing funds for start-ups following the successful launch of the Innovation fund in March 2018. 

Looking into the future, we are saying “Zimbabwe is open for business” and we cherish building partnerships and concerted collaboration to take us to the desired level. Our target is to grow our economy by at least 6% year on year on a sustained basis, with broadband as our lynchpin. 

Ladies and gentlemen, having said all that, it is my great pleasure to present to you Dr Cosmas Zavazava, who is well known to most of you, as our candidate for the post of Director Telecommunications Development Bureua.  Cosmas is a diligent, versatile, and humble man. He speaks several languages and has vast diplomatic experience within and outside the ITU, with almost 20 years of experience in the Development Sector. Some of you have worked with him in disaster situations and I am sure you can testify that he is undoubtedly a strategic asset to the ITU who deserves your support. We are offering Dr. Cosmas Zavazava to the ITU as a token of appreciation for the support that we have enjoyed and also to show our commitment to the work of the Union. We are counting on you to support our offering to the Union. 

I thank you!