A world-class programme of interactive debates exploring the key issues of the digital age with informed opinion, expert speakers and international perspectives.

Sessions and topics

Accelerating digital transformation is disrupting almost every sector of the economy, promising to improve human life on an unprecedented scale.

How can we ensure that meaningful, relevant connectivity reaches all of the world’s citizens?

What innovations in technology, policy and strategy will deliver smart development solutions?

How can the public sector, international organizations and industry bodies collaborate to address both digital inclusion and the risks of living in a hyper-connected society?

The Forum at ITU Telecom World 2018 explored these and other key issues under the theme “Innovation for smarter digital development”.

Key Forum sessions included:

  • Leapfrogging to 5G: can new technologies enable emerging markets by-pass legacy networks and, outdated regulatory frameworks?
  • Rethinking regulation, enabling innovation: balancing consumer protection, innovation, secure global data flow, and new frameworks for AI
  • Smart cities: innovations in sustainable urban living: how  IoT and AI can  meet the real challenges of modern city living in Africa and around the world
  • Wireless technologies for Africa: the opportunities ahead: is satellite the answer to digital inclusion and smart services throughout Africa?
  • AI: impact and ownership: how can AI and the data it generates be managed or regulated ?
  • Digital finance: innovative economic solutions for all: from digital currencies

Forum Summit

The event’s first day flagship session, setting the scene for the Forum debates to follow. The Forum Summit was an outstanding opportunity for all event participants to hear expert insight, gain international perspectives, and understand the opportunities and challenges of smart digital development at the very highest level. Featuring a mixture of keynote speeches, striking presentations and interactive panel debate, it focused on two key themes:

Digital everyone:

extending meaningful connectivity to all is about more than just infrastructure. It needs to be affordable, of good quality, in local languages, driven by relevant local content and services – and backed by digital literacy and education initiatives. What are our best options?

Beyond connectivity:

technological change at such an exponential rate brings unexpected challenges and risks, with little time for governments, industry, societies and individuals to prepare for new realities. How can we address cybersecurity, privacy, innovation and ethics throughout emerging and developed markets?

ITU brings in many leaders at different levels of the value chain representing different bodies in the industry ecosystem, if you couple that with good topics such as emerging markets or how telcos can reinvent themselves, this kind of mix brings value not only for Huawei but also for the whole industry.Mohamed Madkour, VP of GWNM, Huawei Technologies

Leadership Summit

The Leadership Summit at ITU Telecom World brings together ministers, regulators and private sector representatives at the highest level to debate the big picture opportunities and challenges of the smart digital landscape – setting the scene for the four days of Forum discussions that follow.

Ministerial Roundtable

The ITU Telecom World Ministerial Roundtable provides Ministers from around the world with an opportunity to share developments and challenges within the ICT landscape, highlighting their ICT policy direction, vision investment opportunities, and debating issues needing further collaboration between governments and the ICT industry. The Ministerial Roundtable is an excellent platform for vendors, operators, SMEs and investors to gain direct exposure to the strategies, direction and development of individual countries within the ICT ecosystem.

Session formats


Forum - keynotes

Thought-leadership and international perspectives at the highest level as leaders from public and private sectors share key messages and insights.

Panel Sessions

Forum - panel sessions

Experts drawn from public, private and research sectors explore the core issues facing ICTs today from contrasting perspectives. Interactive, free of presentations or pre-set agendas and often passionate, panel sessions encourage contributions and questions from delegates on the stage and in the audience.

Plenary Sessions

Forum - plenary sessions

Leaders from government and industry offer their personal viewpoints and powerful insider insights on key issues within the ICT industry, kicking off lively debate at plenary sessions open to all participants.


Forum - roundtables

Ministers, regulators or CEOs share experiences, success stories and case studies from the perspective of their countries or organizations to personal viewpoints and powerful insider insights on future directions within the ICT industry, kicking off debate at the highest level on policies, perspectives and best practices from across the globe.

Partner Sessions

Forum - dialogues

Forum sessions or facilitated workshops organized by ITU but shaped by input and contributions from interested companies, associations or organizations

Fireside chats

Forum - sponsored sessions

An informal, one-to-one conversation between a moderator and an industry expert, provoking direct insights, in-depth discussion and audience engagement.