Following the publication in January 1985 of The Missing Link, the report of the Independent Commission for Worldwide Telecommunication Development, an historic first World Telecommunication Development Conference was convened in Arusha at the invitation of the Government of Tanzania. The purpose of the conference was to bring together the Members of the ITU, preferably at the ministerial level, to study and exchange views on the report, to find practical ways of implementing the relevant recommendations, and to discuss a range of issues relevant to the development of telecommunications, particularly in the developing regions of the world. After intensive debate, the Conference endorsed the conclusions and recommendations embodied in the Missing Link report and unanimously adopted the Arusha Declaration on World Telecommunications Development.
Among other points, the Arusha Declaration called on governments and other stakeholders to work to ensure that there would be a telephone within “easy reach” of “virtually the whole of mankind” by the early part of the 21st century. It urged the governments of developing countries to accord a higher priority to the telecommunication sector in their national plans and resource allocations, and the governments and telecommunications manufacturing and operating entities in developed countries to devote greater financial and technical resources to telecommunications within the various aid programmes then available.