President, African Development Bank Group
“The need to use ICT to fast-forward the social and economic development of
our countries is clear. The contribution it can make is huge, and the potential
can only grow. We want to make the economies of Africa more competitive, and
therefore the African Development Bank is committing to the development of
communication and information technology infrastructure across the continent.
The Bank aims to stimulate economic growth, employment; and facilitate economic
integration. Bridging the digital divide and promoting capacity building in
local economies is in line with our strategy and I strongly support the Connect
Africa global multi-stakeholder partnership. It is an initiative that is
essential in establishing an enabling environment for the mobilization of
resources, including private sector participation.”
Craig R. Barrett
Chairman, UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development
Without widespread and affordable access to the Internet, Africa will not be
able to integrate into the global information economy. Its citizens, businesses
and governments will forego the economic, social and political opportunities
that access to the worldwide knowledge base makes possible.
Africa has a great opportunity to leap forward with new technologies. This
has been already demonstrated with the very rapid adoption of mobile telephony.
Emerging wireless broadband technologies offer a similar opportunity with regard
to the Internet. But this requires both availability of radio spectrum and
increased investment into the gaps in backbone networks.
Connectivity is only one element that is needed to unleash the benefits of
information and communication technologies (ICT). Education, locally relevant
content and services, as well as affordable computers and other access devices
are equally important. However, to remain results-oriented, we need to be
focused and tackle a limited set of problems at a time. And that is what the
“Connect Africa Summit” is all about.
As the Chairman of the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development, I am proud
to be part of this effort. I look forward to a productive and results-oriented
Summit in Kigali.
Mr. Abdulie Janneh
UN Under-Secretary General,
ECA Executive Secretary
The ability of nations to benefit from the opportunities that abound from
using Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to advance
socio-economic development depends to a large extent on the availability of
appropriate infrastructure. Such facilities enable access to new sources of
wealth that can be generated through the digital and knowledge economy.
While investment in ICT infrastructure in Africa has been on the rise in the
recent past, there is still need for concerted action to increase the extent and
quality of ICT infrastructure in the continent. Indeed, given the current state
of their infrastructure, many African countries are not able to fully exploit
the benefit arising from new industries and new job opportunities in the global
knowledge economy including Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs), which is valued
at US$642 billion annually and is expected to continue growing. This sector also
includes Call Centres and other IT enabled services (IteS) that are
It is estimated for instance that inadequate telecommunication infrastructure
adds additional costs of over $40 million for Africans to communicate with
themselves. Furthermore, the distribution of telecommunications (telephony and
Internet) services are biased in favour of urban areas, which in most African
countries account for over 80 per cent of the services, while the rural areas,
where up to 80 per cent of the population reside, have access to a paltry 20 per
cent of service. Urgent interventions are therefore required to bring about
equitable distribution of ICT infrastructure in each and every African country.
The Connect Africa Summit taking place in Kigali, Rwanda 29-30 October 2007
under the patronage of His Excellency President Paul Kagame is a timely initiate
for bring Africa’s political leadership together to mobilize human, financial
and technical resources required to improve ICT infrastructure in Africa. I am
optimistic that this Summit will be one of deeds and that its outcome will be a
firm commitment to an Action Plan to step up Africa’s information and
communication infrastructure. The economic and social benefits of this course of
action will be immeasurable and will contribute directly to the economic
transformation of Africa.
I wish the Connect Africa Summit every success in achieving its noble