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UN official calls for 'walking-distance' access to communication technologies for every African

UN official calls for 'walking-distance' access to communication technologies for every African

ECA's K.Y. Amoako
Well-defined roles must guide national and regional actions in building Africa's information and communications technologies, paving the way for easy access by all people on the continent, according to the head of the United Nations regional commission for Africa.

"We must distinguish between projects and initiatives that will be supported by our development partners, those by governments, as well as the private sector. There will also be a role for public-private partnerships," Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) chief KY Amoako said at the conclusion of a preparatory conference for the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) later this year.

"Actions alone will not deliver the desired results," he added.

The second phase of the WSIS is scheduled to take place from 18 to 25 November in Tunisia's capital, Tunis. The Summit's first part was held in December 2003 in Geneva.

"As we head to Tunis, Africa should be able to provide access [to ICT] within walking distance of all its people," Mr. Amoako said last Friday in his address to the meeting in Ghana's capital, Accra, which had the theme "Access – Africa's key to an inclusive Information Society."

African countries should take up the urgent challenge of becoming major actors in the Internet governance debate and help shape development goals, particularly in trade and business, he said.

He also highlighted the need to generate internal resources and to tap into financial, technical and human resources from the African diaspora.