Today 582

Yesterday 591

All 39442240

Thursday, 30.05.2024
eGovernment Forschung seit 2001 | eGovernment Research since 2001
Africa has begun a critical approach to address the digital divide between her and the rest of the world.

African Information, Communication and Technology experts, Governments, civil society, youths, the media, private sectors gathered in Accra last week to explore ways of bridging the ICT divide. Experts, meeting at African Regional Preparatory Conference of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), in Accra, deliberated on the need to revolutionise the ICT sectors in Africa and bridge the digital divide. "In rural communities in Africa, owing a computer is out of the question. Where computer do exists, they are not enough or not affordable. Subsistence wages do not begin to cover the cost of hardware, software or computer lessons that facilitate access to information on the economy, education and health care information that could help improve living standards for millions of people around the world," said Haru Mutasa, a Highway Africa News Agency journalist. The regional Preparatory Conference has already taken stock of the emerging problems of ICT in Africa. Key issues considered included understanding the powerful potential of ICTs in the promotion of Socio-economic development. This was further discussed under the theme of the conference, ‘Access: African Key to an Inclusive Information Society; amajor platform tagged "Information Technology for Development (ICT4D).

After the first phase of the World Summit on Information Society in Geneva, 2003, the Accra conference prepared Africa for the second phase of the World Summit to be held in Tunis, Tunisia in November this year. Among the strong indicators of the regional preparatory conference is ICTs for Socio-economic development. The Preparation conference in Accra took into consideration ICTs role in creating knowledge, educating people and disseminating information.

Information Communication Technology has restructured the way the world conducts economic and business practices and runs governments, while developing new products and services that are transforming societies. African countries are beginning to understand the importance of ICT as many countries have initiated the e-government, e-health, e-learning, e-finance approaches. Even though two unresolved problems such as Internet governance and funding still paints a gloomy picture, state parties are now assessing and addressing them. The joint collaboration of giants institutions such as the United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA), UNESCO, African Union, International Telecommunication Union, Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAANN) would no doubt accelerate efforts.

African heads of states and government representatives at the opening of the preparatory meeting also showed commitments by state parties to making the digital divide an issue. President Kufuor of Ghana, the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and representative of the Senegalese president Abdoulie Wade, all maintained a common ground to peddle towards an Africa digital revolution. " Africa can bridge the digital gap that divides her and the rest of the world, and the next few years will see Africa making amazing strides in this sector and leap-frogging its development," said John Kufuor, the president of Ghana. "We need to take brave decisions. We do not have much time. This is a call to partnership in line with the spirit of Nepad. Africa needs to join the rest of the world in order to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline," he said.

As stated by Mr Kufuor, it is time to work with the rest of the world to ensure that this time around we would not be left behind, and by the 2015- MDG deadline - we will be in the mainstream of the ICT revolution. Not just in the consumption of the products of ICT, but also in providing the wherewithal to produce some of them. President Abdoulie Wade of Senegal has already proposed to the UN, a Digital Solidarity Fund to help technologically disadvantaged countries build telephone lines and other infrastructure in order to bridge the digital and the wealth gaps between her and the developed nations. Even though Wade’s proposal is seriously contested by few within and outside of Africa, these and others are ongoing debates to bring Africa out of the ICT isolation. The Accra conference is already preparing a common voice for Africa as the Pre-conference workshop had recommended that African countries be encouraged to adopt a common position on ICT. Further assistance be provided for financing and establishing the Digital Solidarity Fund, observatory be created to monitor commitments and the African Union should seek support for funding and integrating sub-regional projects of NEPAD.

Autor: Bakare Muritala

Quelle: Daily Observer, 09.02.2005

Go to top