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

... Welcoming messages

Donald Kaberuka,
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 infrastructure-dependent.

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 objectives.

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Updated : 2009-01-19