BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The GSMA today presented His Excellency Amirzai Sangin, Minister of Communications & IT of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with the mobile industry's prestigious annual Government Leadership Award. The award recognises the immense achievements made by the Afghan government in its commitment to the widespread expansion of mobile communications.
In just ten years the Afghan government has taken a country with no mobile infrastructure to a point where 80 per cent of the population is now covered by telecommunications networks. It has licensed four GSM operators and has created an environment of healthy, transparent competition and low-cost, broad accessibility. By leading this transformation, Afghanistan's government is driving economic growth; the mobile industry now directly employs more than 50,000 people, and accounts for 12 per cent of all government revenues. Telecommunications has become the single largest source of foreign investment, bringing more than $1.2 billion dollars into the national economy.
"I am extremely delighted to receive this award on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan, and want to thank the GSMA for recognizing the efforts of our government for creating policies and a regulatory environment that, together with the efforts of all stakeholders, have resulted, despite the challenges of the ongoing insurgency and war, in the tremendous success of telecommunications and ICT in Afghanistan," said Minister Sangin. "With our partners, we are determined to continue to develop the potential for telecommunications and ICT as an enabler for the socio-economic development of our country."
"This award acknowledges the pioneering leadership of the government of Afghanistan and is a testament to the vision, courage and integrity of its policy makers who are encouraging foreign investment in the country," said Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer, GSMA. "By reducing the spectrum fees payable by mobile operators and creating a light-touch regulatory environment which does not impose onerous burdens on operators, the government of Afghanistan is building a new economic era and driving trade through the power of mobile communications."
The judging panel for this year's Government Leadership Award was composed of:
- Professor Martin Cave, London School of Economics
- Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group
- Ambassador David A. Gross, Partner, Wiley Rein
- Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA
The award was presented at the Government Mobile Forum, an annual one-day event in which more than 350 government and regulatory representatives from around the world meet with industry to discuss specific regulatory issues relating to the development of mobile communications. The Forum is a key event in the GSMA's Ministerial Programme which takes place every year in Barcelona during the GSMA Mobile World Congress. In 2011 the Ministerial Programme has attracted government delegations from more than 120 countries.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA is focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile communications industry.