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President of Mali visits ITU:
World Summit on the Information Society Focus of Talks

Geneva, 3 April 2002 — A regional preparatory conference for the World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in Bamako, Mali from 28-30 May, was the focus of talks on Wednesday between the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr Yoshio Utsumi, and the President of Mali, His Excellency Mr. Alpha Oumar Konaré.

Mr Utsumi discussed with the President the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) for development in light of the Istanbul Declaration and Action Plan adopted last week by 152 countries at the ITU’s third World Telecommunication Development Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. The Istanbul Declaration focuses on new strategies that can be adopted to improve the level of access to telecommunications throughout the developing world.

The President and the Secretary-General exchanged views on the need to develop large-scale partnerships, private and public, for the successful implementation of ICT development strategies as well as methods to enhance cooperation with all stakeholders.

Mr. Utsumi stressed the need for African participation in the World Summit on the Information Society to be held in Geneva in December of 2003 and in Tunis in 2005 and the importance of the work of Mr Konaré in assuring that the voice of Africa is heard. The Secretary-General thanked the President for the initiative taken to organize the preparatory meeting in Mali, for it will provide critical direction to the regional preparatory work of the World Summit on the Information Society.

During the visit, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed that will create a network of multipurpose community telecentres to connect 703 communities of Mali. Under the MoU, the required infrastructure will be deployed, the telecentres will be established, user training will be carried out and e-applications and e-services will be developed.

The President was accompanied by Her Excellency Mrs Soumaré Aminata Sidiré, Ambassador of Mali in Berlin, His Excellency Mr Aboulaye Diop, Diplomatic representative of the President of Mali, His Excellency Mr Abdoul Kader Touré, Ambassador and Director of Protocol of the Republic, Mr Abdoulaye Sidiré, Head of communication of the President, Mr Mamadou Lamine Diallo, chef de mission, Informatics and New Information and Communication Technologies in the President’s office and Mr Alexandre Davidoff, Consul of Mali in Geneva.

Mali has been a member of ITU since October 1960.

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