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Home : ITU-D : Connect the World : Connect Africa : Connect Africa

Welcoming messages

Connect Africa will be launched at a Summit of leaders in Kigali, Rwanda, 29−30 October 2007, under the patronage of the President of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, as well as the Chairman of the African Union and President of Ghana, His Excellency, Mr John Kufuor. It will be organized by the International Telecommunication Union, the African Union, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in partnership with the African Development Bank, the African Telecommunication Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Global Digital Solidarity Fund.



His Excellency Mr Paul Kagame,
President of the Republic of Rwanda

Today more than ever before, the world is recognizing that science, technology and innovation constitute the anchor for sustainable development. Modern technologies, particularly the digital revolution, are fast defining a new world order. Africa must fully embrace digital opportunities to be an integral part of the emerging global knowledge and information society.

Rwanda is fully involved in this global and African transformation. Our rebuilding efforts are bearing fruits – based on Rwandan people’s dedication to reconciliation and reconstruction. Like much of our continent, we are well on the way to recovery, thanks to economic progress and social transformation achieved through good, responsive and participatory governance.

To build on this success, we must invest in information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and services. ICT is not only the undisputed engine of growth for nearly all the sectors of any economy, but also a generator of wealth and employment in its own right.

The Government of Rwanda is therefore honoured to host the Connect Africa Summit, 29-30 October, 2007 in Kigali, our capital city. My Government is fully committed to the goals and ideals of the Summit - to move the ICT infrastructure agenda for our continent.

I look forward to welcoming to Rwanda all the invited distinguished government and private-sector leaders, from Africa and the world community, to help forge the requisite partnerships to prepare Africa to meaningfully participate in the emerging global economy.

His Excellency Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor,
President of the Republic of Ghana and Chairman of the African Union

Today we are all committed to the creation of the knowledge and information society as ICT is no more a matter of choice but a necessity to promote the creation of access to knowledge in this global society of ours.

We in Africa are poised to actualise the common vision of providing universal access to ICT so we can benefit from the strength of sharing our connectivity resources on the continent to achieve our collective developmental objectives, in particular the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The challenges that confront Africa require the combined effort of our Governments, Development Partners, Africa’s friendly nations, ICT Industry Players, Private Business Community, Civil Society, etc to mobilise adequate resources to develop the needed ICT infrastructure to support the innovative and creative spirit of our people, propel economic progress and improve the well-being of our citizens.

It is in this regard that the African Union welcomes and supports the initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the World Bank Group and the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID), in partnership with the African Development Bank (ADB), the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to organise the Connect Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, aimed at taking concrete steps to ensure universal connectivity for our continent with our own resources and through international cooperation.

In precise terms I expect the Summit to address Africa’s concerns for: poor infrastructure, high cost of access to information and knowledge, and development of the requisite human resources for the promotion of a sustainable and inclusive Information Society on the continent and beyond. On behalf of the AU and on my own behalf I am grateful to my brother, His Excellency President Paul Kagame, for accepting to host this important continental event and I wish the Summit fruitful deliberations.

Dr Hamadoun Touré
International Telecommunication Union

There is a wide consensus among leaders in Africa and around the world about the potential for information and communication technologies (ICT) as a catalyst for development. Nevertheless, we are at serious risk of not achieving internationally agreed targets for ICTs and development by 2015 in Africa and other regions. To achieve these goals, we need to combine our resources and act quickly.

Investment in ICT infrastructure in Africa has improved dramatically in recent years, representing a total of USD 8 billion in 2005, up from USD 3.5 billion in 2000. These figures reflect an increasingly vibrant private sector investment environment, especially in mobile telephony, which has been stimulated by competition and policy and regulatory reform in most African telecommunication markets. However, effective Internet services needed for important business, government and consumer applications continue to be either very expensive or not available due to limited broadband network infrastructure investment. In addition, rural connectivity and access remain inadequate as does the availability of locally relevant content, applications and services. These gaps present challenges, but they also reveal new opportunities for private investors and innovative public-private partnerships.

It is my pleasure to join leaders from Africa and around then world for the Connect Africa Summit to be held in Kigali from 29-30 October 2007. This Summit will provide a unique platform for executive-level networking, partnership-building and the mobilizing of resources to address major gaps in ICT infrastructure needed to accelerate employment, economic growth and development across the region.

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Updated : 2009-01-19