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ITU Deputy Secretary-General meets President of Burkina Faso
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From left to right: ITU Deputy Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and Burkina Faso's President Blaise Campaoré

On 10–12 November 2009, ITU Deputy Secretary-General Houlin Zhao visited Burkina Faso and met President Blaise Campaoré, who expressed his satisfaction with ITU’s cooperation with his country and encouraged the Union to continue its efforts to help the developing world. Mr Zhao welcomed the valuable contribution of Burkina Faso to the Union’s work, and conveyed an invitation from the ITU Secretary- General for President Campaoré to participate in ITU events next year: the World Telecommunication Development Conference and the Plenipotentiary Conference.

The President was also requested to support ITU in making Heads of State aware of the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in mitigating climate change, especially at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2009. President Campaoré promised his support, as well as in discussions on cybersecurity that will take place at the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr Zhao was accompanied by Seydoux Bagoulo Bassavé, Senior Counsellor from the ITU Area Office in Dakar, Senegal. They held discussions with the Secretary-General of Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Posts and Information and Communication Technologies, and with the Minister Noël Kaboré. An agreement was signed for technical and financial support from ITU for implementing a project by the Burkina Faso Association for the Blind and Sight-Impaired (ABPAM), which manages a cybercentre. The signing took place in the presence of Pascaline Tamini, Minister for Social Affairs and National Solidarity.

Mr Zhao later visited ABPAM, where blind children are receiving primary education. He witnessed first-hand the urgent need for efforts to bring this group into the emerging information society. During his time in Burkina Faso, Mr Zhao also saw telecommunication installations at Ziniaré, followed by a visit to a multipurpose centre for development that includes ICT facilities. It serves 32 villages within a 33-km radius and the visit gave an insight into how much work is still required to connect rural areas.

On returning to the capital, Ouagadougou, the ITU delegation visited the Electronic Communications Regulatory Authority (ARCE), where they met its Chairman and two board members along with the Directors-General of the fixed and mobile network operators in Burkina Faso.


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