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The Least Connected, The Most in Need

The Special Programme for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is directed at integrating the world’s most marginalized countries into the global telecommunication network. Most of the countries in this category have very poor telecommunication networks resulting in teledensities below 1 per 100 inhabitants. Not only do they have very low per capita incomes but they suffer from long-term constraints to their growth as a result of human resource and severe infrastructure weaknesses.

The citizens of the LDCs are often divided digitally from the rest of the world in two ways. First, they do not have easy access to information and communication technologies (the majority have not used or even seen a telephone); second, the rural population is often further divided from their urban compatriots in terms of access and connectivity.

The ITU programmes for the LDCs, developed and delivered through BDT, undertook activities in priority areas. These include:

  • Introducing new technologies and services for network expansion and modernization
  • Reforming and restructuring the telecommunication sector to create an environment conducive to increased investment and competition
  • Developing the human resources necessary to ensure sustainability of the management and operation of the telecommunication sector
  • Promoting financing and partnerships as a strategy to attract investment into the sector.

In order to ensure the greatest impact of these programmes, assistance was concentrated on a small group of countries. These included: Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger and Yemen. The projects ranged from developing a business plan in order to establish a telecommunication college, to assistance in migrating from a circuit-switched telephone network to an Internet Protocol, to the creation of rural telecommunication development strategies.



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Updated : 2002-10-09