African Union Meeting Calls For A Re-push Of Communication & InfoTech

ABUJA – “Despite the difficulties inherent to the low level of infrastructure, Africa is far from being kept out of the global network. Internet represents a great hope for educated youth. The withholding of information by the ancient and powerful is even heavier than the libraries are almost empty. Internet therefore seems to many as a great opportunity for the South”. These are the words of Mr Aboubakari Baba Moussa, Director of Energy and Infrastructure of the African Union (AU) at the opening ceremony of the expert’s session of the Third AU Conference of Ministers in charge of Communication and Information Technologies (CITMC-3) in Abuja Nigeria.

Highlighting the crucial role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by opening new windows of opportunities for the development of the continent, Mr Baba Moussa informed that the challenge does not reside any more in the resources but in implementing decisions taken at a continental level. In this regard, many initiatives have been undertaken by the African Union Commission (AUC) since CITMC2 in Cairo in 2008. The AUC is supporting the implementation of harmonization of ICT Policy in the Sub-Saharan countries (HIPSSA). On the other hand, the AUC has undertaken the pre-feasibility study for the establishment of an African Space Agency, the pre-feasibility study for the African Domain Name (Dot Africa).

The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, Mr Mohamed Sambo Bashar stressed the importance of ICT in the developed of Africa and recalled the experts that the development of this sector relies on their deliberations.

In the same vein, in his opening remarks, Mr Labaran Maku, Minister of State of Information and Communication of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recalled that CITMC2 recommended the improvement of national telecommunications, upgrading of ARAKPE (African Regional Action Plan on Knowledge Economy), development of ICT and postal policies as well as implementing the ICT Fund. Mr Maku called the meeting to move from commitment to action in order to close the digital gap especially regarding economy of knowledge. After Abuja, he said, Africa should be given ways and means to close the digital gap. He also highlighted that resources are not lacking but consistency in planning and political will.

Mr Brahima Sanou, Regional Representative of the ITU and Mr Moctar Yedali, Dead of Division of Telecommunications and Post of the AU, also graced the occasion.

The expert’s session which started today, 3 August 2010, will end on 5 August. The expert’s recommendations will be submitted to the AU Ministers in charge of Communications and Information Technologies, meeting on 6th.

Journalists are invited to attend and to cover the closing ceremony of the expert’s session on August 5th at 18:00 and the opening session of the ministerial meeting on August 6th at 10:00 am at the Hilton-Abuja.