Statement by H.E. Mr. Tefera Walwa, Minister of Capacity
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please allow me to express that Ethiopia is proud of Tunisia
to host and make this event successful. Mr. President, please allow me also
to express my appreciation to the WSIS Executive Secretariat and to all
others for their relentless efforts.
Recognizing the importance of building an inclusive,
development-oriented and people centered information society guided by the
motto "we are too poor not to invest on ICT", the endeavor Ethiopia has made
so far in establishing ICT infrastructure for increased access to ICT
services and embarking on ICT-enabled sectoral applications indicates that
Ethiopia is favorably responding towards the realization of WSIS principles
and plan of actions.
During the first Summit, Ethiopia asserted its commitment to
harnessing ICTs for development and democratization, particularly for
capacity building and transforming delivery of public services. In this
respect, a lot has been achieved. To mention few, Ethiopia managed to build
an internationally competitive telecom infrastructure equipped with
high-speed broadband technology. The installation of fiber optics network
covering about 4000 kilometers in the directions of the major network routes
in the country. A rural connectivity program is also well underway with the
target of connecting more than 15,000 villages and providing them with
access to ICTs within the range of 5 to 10 kilometers walking distance from
anywhere in the country by the end of 2008.
Today, all existing secondary schools are connected and
receiving educational contents through satellite TV using VSAT broadband
technology. Interconnecting agricultural research centers is another
important connectivity initiative to support national agricultural
activities. The application of ICTs to enhance development spans to empower
all 600 districts of the country, reaching more than 80% of our population
living in rural areas.
The Federal Supreme Court is using ICTs in examining files
and documents on-line as well as hearing court appeals from remote places
over videoconferencing facilities.
My country's expectation in the implementation mechanisms of
the WSIS is that the recognition, acknowledgement and recommendations on the
need for knowledge, skills and financial resources must be transformed into
practical commitment and concrete partnerships. Ethiopia would like to
reconfirm its commitment to work together with all stakeholders towards the
implementation of the decisions and follow up activities coming out of this
Ethiopia also recognizes that innovative public financing
and private investment on ICT play an important role in expanding access to
ICT services in rural and under-served areas. In this regard, we appreciate
the successful launching of Digital Solidarity Fund and others partners in
developing Digital Solidarity Mechanism for mobilizing resources to finance
and promote digital inclusion endeavors.
Ethiopia considers Internet as a crucial vehicle for the
evolvement of an inclusive information society and has been heavily
investing on it. However, ensuring accessibility is a challenge to make it
widely affordable. Such challenge partly calls for measures like decreasing
costs related to interconnectivity. Ethiopia anxiously looks forward towards
appropriate mechanisms of Internet Governance.
Finally, let me take this opportunity to inform this
assembly that the Government of Ethiopia will be hosting the World
Information Technology Forum (WITFOR), from 22-26 August 2007, in
collaboration with the International Federation for Information Processing.
This forum will definitely contribute to reviewing the progress of the
implementation of WSIS targets and learn from best practices. On behalf of
the government of Ethiopia and its people, I would like to cordially invite
you all to this important event.
I thank you.