Conference to help bridge Africa's digital divide

Monday, November 2, 2009

Johannesburg - Bridging the digital divide within the African continent and the entire world has come under the spotlight at the African Union (AU) Communication Ministerial Conference.

The four-day conference, which kicked-off today, will provide an opportunity as well as a platform to explore ways of harnessing Information Communication and Technologies (ICT) for the socio-economic development in the continent.

Department of Communications Director Brenda Ngosi said the extra-ordinary session of the conference was organised to enable member states and stakeholders to deliberate on the challenges and prospects for ICT development.

Ngosi said the objectives of the conference will lay the groundwork for the AU January 2010 Summit to convince Heads of State and Government on the crucial role of ICTs in enhancing the socio-economic development.

"Our agenda sets the tone for our deliberations as it focuses on key challenges and prospects on the need to create an enabling environment for ICT growth, development of an ICT infrastructure."

All this, Ngosi said, should guide the ministerial session so that they can be able to make concrete recommendations to be submitted to the Heads of State and Governments during the 2010 summit.

"These recommendations should facilitate and contribute towards addressing the challenges and prospects for ICT development in Africa.

"I wish to underscore that next year's summit will give impetus to the socio-economic development and integration of Africa through ICT.

"I urge you to make the best out of this opportunity and let's join hands together and build an African knowledge society," she said.

The conference of ministers responsible for Communications and Information Technologies was established by the decision of the Executive Council of the AU in 2006.

The conference meets every two years in an ordinary session.