Telmex Foundation’s “21th Century Mexico”, 2011 Edition

Telmex Foundation carried out the 21th Century Mexico scholarship student annual meeting on September 9th, 2011.

As in previous years, outstanding international personalities addressed to more than 10,000 scholarship students and interchanged ideas and opinions with them in an interactive way in the National Auditorium.

In welcoming the participants, Mr. Carlos Slim Domit, president of Telmex Directive Board, said that “our innovation and constant modernization programs are supported by huge investments in Mexico, amounting about 38,974 billion dollars, a sum many times bigger than those of all of our competitors combined.”

In addressing the scholarship students, Mr. Slim Domit said you stand for the best students in Mexico and “whatever your professional field is, you will make the difference because of your full formation, which is what we are already looking for. Surpassing the crisis generations to become the opportunities generations depends on us. We have no right to wasting time”, he concluded.  

Speech by Mr. Carlos Slim Domit, President of Telefonos de México’s directive board, in Telmex Foundation’s 21th Century Mexico act, National Auditorium
September 9, 2011

Telmex’s scholarship fellows, good morning

I feel again honored in welcoming you to the most important act of the year: meeting with you all and among you.

We are now living in a deeply uncertain epoch at a world level which coerces all countries, especially the developed ones, to understand their own problems, to assess their own possibilities, to outline their own future and to introduce needed changes to keep continued development. These are decisive and transitional times toward a new order, and, above all, to forecast how we all are going to embed ourselves into that new civilization to profit from it by fully understanding its new paradigms. Main new paradigms are democracy, freedom, competition, plurality, ability to transform laggards into development opportunities, and increasing communication abilities between persons and societies beyond borders and generations, among other fundamental paradigms.

This new age is based on education, knowledge, universal access to information, and domestic markets development by creating more and better jobs. This new civilization just can be sustained on general wellbeing.

My own generation experienced recurrent economic crisis with high and uncontrolled inflation rates, sudden currency devaluations and very high interest rates which often turned personal, businesses, and countries debts into unpayable obligations which, in turn, impeded new needed investments. These were the developing countries recurrent crisis, mainly Mexico’s and the rest of Latin American countries. At that time, rural population counted for a big demographic proportion, while societies were rapidly becoming urban ones.

Nowadays, the current global economic crisis is related to the developed countries, mainly because of their irresponsible and unlimited access to credit and unruly use of financial instruments which allowed them to spend above their income –an unsustainable trend even with zero or near-to-zero interest rates. The unavoidable outcome of needed adjustment will be less growth and increasing unemployment. Diminishing public spending can only be balanced by private investment.

I don’t want to go deeper into analysis. I simply want to show you the basic economic variables to distinguish the current global crisis from those experienced by my own generation during decades. In making that comparison I would outline the way in which we could embed ourselves into the ongoing epoch, in which we all will be immersed through several generations to come.

As I have said, the current developed-economies crisis is a structural one. In contrast to developed countries we have younger population, sound economic basis, high currency reserves, healthy public finances (which should be more efficiently managed always), low public deficits, even public superavits in some cases, open and competitive economies, sound financial systems and low interest rates. All of these main variables allow long-term planning and enable us to optimistically envisage Mexico and Latin America future.

My own generation development obstacles have become opportunities for investment and growth to create more and better jobs. The global access to information allows marginalized communities to be connected to the most valuable information simultaneously to the developed world. The intense activity of both traditional and modern new services and the potential strength of domestic markets (being supported by aggressive development and job-creation programs) are already confirming that trend. We are attesting it in China, India, and Brazil, among many other countries.

The current era do create big opportunities to embed us into modernity in a quicker and profiteer way than you could imagine. Territorial conquests and world wars have been surpassed by markets competition, traditional political representation is giving way to civil participation, social-assistance programs are giving way to education and employment, and above all, laggards are becoming opportunities.

A key word for that new era is connectivity, and telecommunications stand for its nervous system, so we should have continuously-expanding and universal-access avant-garde infrastructure, access for content-and-applications producers, local and remote connectivity for every activity, individual and collective, trough both fixed and mobile networks across the whole territory, in any place, in any time.

To achieve this, intense and constant investment for enlarging coverage, capacity and technology upgrading is needed, all of these being made in a competitive environment for providing improved convergent services in universal-access conditions, as we do in 18 countries at that time.

Legal certitude is a fundamental requisite for medium and long-term competition, coverage and convergence planning. Legal processes delaying severely impair growth opportunities for persons, businesses, sectors and countries as a whole.

We know that our work is fundamental to provide Mexico the best infrastructure and competitive products and services with the finest team work. Unlike most industries, we are a public-service private firm, not just a-for-public firm. We are committed to provide telecommunication services to every corner in our country at both affordable prices and coverage, unrivalled by our competitors and exceeding our concession title by far.

At the present time, we provide fixed and mobile lines services to more than 220,000 Mexican communities –98% of the Mexican population. Our nearest competitor provides services to about 70,000 communities. In fact, we stand for the only one provider for about 150,000 communities, 100% market share in them because our competitors don’t consider them income-producers.

Being the only one provider for these communities entails for us the legal risk of being declared dominant, yet we have decided to provide telecommunication services to them just because such is our commitment and responsibility.

Our innovation and constant modernization telecommunication programs are supported by huge investments, about 38,974 million dollars, a sum exceeding our competitors’ investments combined many times.

Unlike most of the telecommunication firms in the rest of the world, we have no license for providing video-services in convergence and competence conditions, an access limitation for most of the Mexican public. In spite of, we are actively competing and offering better package services to our new clients, being supported by highly committed and efficient personnel.

Since Telmex’s privatization in 1991 up to the present time, in spite not having convergence permission, our prices have lowered 76.8% in real terms in contrast to public services like electricity, which have increased 11% in real terms, let alone other basic public services, which have increased even more. Our lowering prices rank among the cheaper in 34 OECD countries.

We have accelerated technology solutions by expanding optic-fiber networks and adopting new-generation technologies which provide quicker speed and smoother stability to our clients. We have amounted 4,000 free-public mobile Infinitum WiFi sites.

In order to support technology development, Telmex Hub have initiated a tour on Mexico’s main cities where it sets itinerant meeting points to promote technology creative development by using digital tools to accelerate knowledge creation and application, so creating a cooperative national network.

Likewise, Telmex’s Technology and Innovation Center is a fresh concept to promote digital services and applications by young entrepreneurs working in high-connectivity modern spaces. They have access to economic support and expert advisory to develop their own concepts.

We have continued our preferential financial program in support for those lacking money to buy computers and tablets. Up to the present time we have delivered 3.2 million computer equipments.

As you will see during the course of that gathering, our social programs and projects have continued to grow in all areas: health care, nutrition, research, education, justice, culture, sports, environment, and natural-disaster relief. I want to thank more than 5,000 Telmex’s volunteers and more than 2,000 public and private institutions along the country by their unconditional and outstanding support.

With 201,387 players, the Telmex Soccer Tournament has accrued four years in a row as the Guinness biggest amateur soccer tournament in the whole world.

Our educational commitment is upheld by far-reaching programs, 13 “Casas Telmex”, 640 Telmex Digital Classrooms, and 3,500 Telmex Digital Libraries in public schools in all of the states of Mexico, which are benefiting more than two-and-a-half million people, including students, teachers and parents.
I want to stress, of course, our Scholarship Program, in which you all participate. Up to the present time, we have distributed 290,777 grants.

You stand for the best Mexico’s students. Whatever your future professional field is, you will make the difference because of your study and, above all, your full formation, which is what that meeting is aimed to stress.
Outstanding international personalities from several fields are going to bring you into contact to their ideas in an open and interactive dialogue.

Today is also a lively day to come closer together. Seize and enjoy it!

Today you will know many dreams-come-true stories based upon will and opportunity, mainly education, your social passport to development.

By thinking big and working hard, we stand for transforming-Mexico responsible generations. We are called to build the country we demand for by facing our challenges with clarity and determination.

Overcoming the crisis generations to become the opportunities generations depend on us.

We have no right to wasting time.
Thanks you all.                      

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