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
- 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.