3. We thank the UN
Secretary-General for his efforts in creating the Task Force on Financial
Mechanisms (TFFM) and we commend the members on their report.
4. We recall that the
mandate of the TFFM was to undertake a thorough review of the adequacy of
existing financial mechanisms in meeting the challenges of ICT for development.
5. The TFFM report sets out the
complexity of existing mechanisms, both private and public, which provide
financing for ICTs in developing countries. It identifies areas where these
could be improved and where ICTs could be given higher priority by developing
countries and their development partners.
6. Based on the conclusion of the
review of the report, we have considered the improvements and
innovations of financing mechanisms, including the creation of a voluntary
Digital Solidarity Fund, as mentioned in the Geneva Declaration of Principles.
7. We recognize the
existence of the digital divide and the challenges that this poses for many
countries, which are forced to choose between many competing objectives in their
development planning and in demands for development funds whilst having limited
8. We recognize the scale
of the problem in bridging the digital divide, which will require adequate and
sustainable investments in ICT infrastructure and services, and capacity
building, and transfer of technology over many years to come.
9. We call upon the
international community to promote the transfer of technology on mutually
agreed terms, including ICTs, to adopt policies and programmes with a view to
assisting developing countries to take advantage of technology in their pursuit
of development through, inter alia, technical cooperation and the building of
scientific and technological capacity in our efforts to bridge the digital and
10. We recognize that the
internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the
Millennium Development Goals, are fundamental. The Monterrey Consensus on
Financing for Development is the basis for the pursuit of adequate and
appropriate financial mechanisms to promote ICTs for development, in accordance
with the Digital Solidarity Agenda of the Geneva Plan of Action.
11. We recognize and
acknowledge the special and specific funding needs of the developing world,
as referred to in paragraph 16 of the Geneva Declaration of Principles*, which
faces numerous challenges in the ICT sector, and that there is strong need to
focus on their special financing needs to achieve the internationally agreed
development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.
* For reference, Paragraph 16 of the Geneva Declaration of Principles
reads as follows: We continue to pay special attention to the particular
needs of people of developing countries, countries with economies in transition,
Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, Landlocked Developing
Countries, Highly Indebted Poor Countries, countries and territories under
occupation, countries recovering from conflict and countries and regions with
special needs as well as to conditions that pose severe threats to development,
such as natural disasters.
12. We agree that the
financing of ICT for development needs to be placed in the context of the
growing importance of the role of ICTs, not only as a medium of communication,
but also as a development enabler, and as a tool for the achievement of the
internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the
Millennium Development Goals.
13. In the past, financing
of ICT infrastructure in most developing countries has been based on public
investment. Lately, a significant influx of investment has taken place where
private-sector participation has been encouraged, based on a sound regulatory
framework, and where public policies aimed at bridging the digital divide have
14. We are greatly encouraged
by the fact that advances in communication technology, and high-speed data
networks are continuously increasing the possibilities for developing countries,
and countries with economies in transition, to participate in the global market
for ICT-enabled services on the basis of their comparative advantage. These
emerging opportunities provide a powerful commercial basis for ICT
infrastructural investment in these countries. Therefore, governments should
take action, in the framework of national development policies, in order to
support an enabling and competitive environment for the necessary investment in
ICT infrastructure and for the development of new services. At the same time,
countries should pursue policies and measures that would not discourage, impede
or prevent the continued participation of these countries in the global market
for ICT-enabled services.
15. We take note that the
challenges for expanding the scope of useful accessible information content in
the developing world are numerous; in particular, the issue of financing for
various forms of content and applications requires new attention, as this area
has often been overlooked by the focus on ICT infrastructure.
16. We recognize that
attracting investment in ICTs has depended crucially upon an enabling environment, including good governance at all levels, and a supportive,
transparent and pro-competitive policy and regulatory framework, reflecting
17. We endeavour to engage in a
proactive dialogue on matters related to corporate social responsibility and
good corporate governance of transnational corporations and their contribution
to the economic and social development of developing countries in our efforts to
bridge the digital divide.
18. We underline that market
forces alone cannot guarantee the full participation of developing countries in
the global market for ICT-enabled services. Therefore, we encourage the
strengthening of international cooperation and solidarity aimed at enabling all
countries, especially those referred to in paragraph 16 of the Geneva
Declaration of Principles, to develop ICT infrastructure and ICT-enabled
services that are viable and competitive at national and international levels.
19. We recognize that, in
addition to the public sector, financing of ICT infrastructure by the private
sector has come to play an important role in many countries and that domestic
financing is being augmented by North-South flows and South-South cooperation.
20. We recognize that, as a
result of the growing impact of sustainable private-sector investment in
infrastructure, multilateral and bilateral public donors are redirecting public
resources to other development objectives, including Poverty Reduction Strategy
Papers and related programmes, policy reforms and mainstreaming of ICTs and
capacity development. We encourage all governments to give appropriate priority
to ICTs, including traditional ICTs such as broadcast radio and television, in
their national development strategies. We also encourage multilateral
institutions as well as bilateral public donors to consider providing more
financial support for regional and large-scale national ICT infrastructure
projects and related capacity development. They should consider aligning their
aid and partnership strategies with the priorities set by developing countries
and countries with economies in transition in their national development
strategies including their poverty reduction strategies.
21. We recognize that public
finance plays a crucial role in providing ICT access and services to rural areas
and disadvantaged populations, including those in Small Island Developing States
and Landlocked Developing Countries.
22. We note that ICT-related
capacity-building needs represent a high priority in all developing countries
and the current financing levels have not been adequate to meet the needs,
although there are many different funding mechanisms supporting ICTs for
23. We recognize that there are a
number of areas in need of greater financial resources and where current
approaches to ICTs for development financing have devoted insufficient attention
to date. These include:
a) ICT capacity-building
programmes, materials, tools, educational funding and specialized training
initiatives, especially for regulators and other public-sector employees and
b) Communications access
and connectivity for ICT services and applications in remote rural areas,
Small Island Developing States, Landlocked Developing Countries and other
locations presenting unique technological and market challenges.
c) Regional backbone
infrastructure, regional networks, Network Access Points and related
regional projects, to link networks across borders and in economically
disadvantaged regions which may require coordinated policies including
legal, regulatory and financial frameworks, and seed financing and that
would benefit from sharing experiences and best practices.
d) Broadband capacity to
facilitate the delivery of a broader range of services and applications,
promote investment and provide Internet access at affordable prices to both
existing and new users.
assistance, as appropriate, for countries referred to in
of the Geneva Declaration of Principles, particularly Least Developed
Countries and Small Island Developing States, in order to improve
effectiveness and to lower transaction costs associated with the delivery of
international donor support.
f) ICT applications and
content aimed at the integration of ICTs into the implementation of poverty
eradication strategies and in sector programmes, particularly in health, education, agriculture and the environment.
In addition, there is a need to consider the following other issues,
which are relevant to ICTs for development and which have not received
g) Sustainability of
Information Society related projects, for example the maintenance of ICT
h) Special needs of Small,
Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), such as funding requirements.
i) Local development and
manufacturing of ICT applications and technologies by developing countries.
j) Activities on ICT-related
institutional reform and enhanced capacity on legal and regulatory
k) Improving organizational
structures and business-process change aimed at optimizing the impact and
effectiveness of ICT projects and other projects with significant ICT
l) Local government and
initiatives based in local communities that deliver ICT services to
communities in areas such as education, health and livelihood support.
24. Recognizing that the central
responsibility for coordination of public financing programmes and public ICT
development initiatives rests with governments, we recommend that further
cross-sectoral and cross-institutional coordination should be undertaken, both
on the part of donors and recipients within the national framework.
25. Multilateral development
banks and institutions should consider adapting their existing mechanisms, and where appropriate
designing new ones, to provide for national and regional demands on ICT
26. We acknowledge the following
prerequisites for equitable and universal accessibility to and better
utilization of financial mechanisms:
a) Creating policy and
regulatory incentives aimed at universal access and the attraction of
and acknowledgement of the key role of ICTs in national development
strategies, and their elaboration, when appropriate, in conjunction with
c) Developing institutional
and implementation capacity to support the use of national universal
service/access funds, and further study of these mechanisms and those aiming
to mobilize domestic resources.
d) Encouraging the
development of locally relevant information, applications and services that
will benefit developing countries and countries with economies in
e) Supporting the
“scaling-up” of successful ICT-based pilot programmes.
f) Supporting the use of ICTs in government as a priority and a crucial target area for ICT-based
g) Building human
resource and institutional capacity (knowledge) at every level for achieving
Information Society objectives, especially in the public sector.
business-sector entities to help jump-start wider demand for ICT services by
supporting creative industries, local producers of cultural content and
applications as well as small businesses.
capacities to enhance the potential of securitized funds and utilizing them
27. We recommend improvements and
innovations in existing financing mechanisms, including:
a) Improving financial mechanisms
to make financial resources become adequate, more predictable, preferably
untied, and sustainable.
b) Enhancing regional cooperation
and creating multi-stakeholder partnerships, especially by creating incentives
for building regional backbone infrastructure.
c) Providing affordable
access to ICTs, by the following measures:
international Internet costs charged by backbone providers, supporting, inter
alia, the creation and development of regional ICT backbones and Internet
Exchange Points to reduce interconnection cost and broaden network access;
ii. encouraging ITU to continue
the study of the question of International Internet Connectivity (IIC) as an
urgent matter to develop appropriate Recommendations.
d) Coordinating programmes among governments and major financial players to mitigate investment
risks and transaction costs for operators entering less attractive rural and
low-income market segments.
e) Helping to
accelerate the development of domestic financial instruments, including by
supporting local microfinance instruments, ICT business incubators, public
credit instruments, reverse auction mechanisms, networking initiatives based on
local communities, digital solidarity and other innovations.
f) Improving the ability to
access financing facilities with a view to accelerating the pace of financing of
ICT infrastructure and services, including the promotion of North-South flows
as well as North-South and South-South cooperation.
g) Multilateral, regional and
bilateral development organizations should consider the utility of creating a
virtual forum for the sharing of information by all stakeholders on potential
projects, on sources of financing and on institutional financial mechanisms.
h) Enabling developing countries
to be increasingly able to generate funds for ICTs and to develop financial
instruments, including trust funds and seed capital adapted to their economies.
i) Urging all countries to make
concrete efforts to fulfil their commitments under the Monterrey Consensus.
regional and bilateral development organizations should consider cooperating to
enhance their capacity to provide rapid response with a view to supporting
developing countries that request assistance with respect to ICT policies.
increased voluntary contributions.
l) Making, as appropriate,
effective use of debt relief mechanisms as outlined in the Geneva Plan of
Action, including inter alia debt cancellation and debt swapping,
that may be used for financing ICT for development projects, including those
within the framework of Poverty Reduction Strategies.
28. We welcome the Digital
Solidarity Fund (DSF) established in Geneva as an innovative financial mechanism
of a voluntary nature open to interested stakeholders with the objective of
transforming the digital divide into digital opportunities for the developing
world by focusing mainly on specific and urgent needs at the local level and
seeking new voluntary sources of “solidarity” finance. The DSF will complement
existing mechanisms for funding the Information Society, which should continue
to be fully utilized to fund the growth of new ICT infrastructure and services.