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Adama SamassékouI thank all the participants in PrepCom-1 for honouring Africa, Mali and myself, through my election to the presidency of PrepCom. I am honoured by the confidence placed in me and it is with determination and commitment that we shall do our utmost to ensure the success of this ground-breaking Summit.

Indeed, the world is currently experiencing unprecedented and radical change due to the new information and communication technologies (NICT). A new society full of promise is emerging, the information society. However, new forms of inequality are arising at various levels, and the digital divide between industrialized countries and the rest of the world is constantly widening. There is an enormous risk of seeing the onset of an unbalanced information society, one that takes no account of the cultural wealth and the linguistic diversity of our planet.

In order to define a common and shared vision of the new information society, it is necessary for all the components of our societies to come together in a process of reflection on our common future and on the means of exploiting the advantages of the new ICT tools for the benefit of all.

Accordingly, I appeal to all stakeholders - governments, civil society, the private sector and intergovernmental organizations - to participate actively, each within their own sphere, in order to contribute to the preparatory process and ensure the success of the Summit.

The regional conferences will provide the opportunity for each region to involve the greatest possible number of participants in securing effective input for the Summit's preparatory process.

Together we shall make the World Summit on the Information Society the scene of a new world dialogue, a new form of international communication based on the values of responsiveness, exchange, solidarity and sharing.

Adama Samassékou, July 2002, Geneva

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