[AfrICANN-discuss] On connectivity in africa

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Mon Aug 6 18:12:47 SAST 2007

AfDB loans $50 mln for Africa satellite link Mon 6 Aug 2007, 12:41 GMT
  [-] Text [+]

TUNIS (Reuters) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $50
million loan towards the construction of a satellite to boost communications
in Africa's rural areas, the bank said.

The venture will provide several telecoms services including international
telephone calls and internet connections and permit radio, television, and
multimedia broadcast reception in each country, AfDB's chief investment
officer Hassan Farah said.

Eighty-five percent of Africans live in rural areas, the bank said. Africa
accounts for only 3.4 percent of global internet users and 3.2 percent of
the world's computers.

The venture, involving 45 countries grouped in an organisation called the
Regional African Satelite Communications Organisation Members (RASCOM), will
extend telephone cover in rural areas and provide cheaper pan-African
interconnectivity for African telecom operators, compared to charges levied
by existing service providers.

"Farmers will have better access to market information, weather forecasts as
well as new technologies," the bank said.

The bank had no word on when the project would be completed. French
electronics group Thales said in June the satellite was due for launch in
the last quarter of 2007 from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana.

(c) Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.   |  Learn more about Reuters
Connect Africa Summit to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, 29-30 October 2007
Marshall Plan for ICT to meet 2015 development goals * *

*Geneva, 11 July 2007 — *The * Connect Africa *Summit will be held in
Kigali, Rwanda, 29-30 October 2007. This was announced by ITU
Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré at a Press Conference in Geneva, held
jointly with the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID).

While investment in ICT infrastructure in Africa has improved dramatically
in recent years, representing a total of USD 8 billion in 2005 (up from USD
3.5 billion in 2000), and growth in mobile phones has increased by as much
as 400 per cent, Africa has fallen back in overall connectivity. While
mobile has surpassed fixed line telephone access, fewer than 4 out of every
100 Africans have Internet access; broadband penetration remains below 1 per
cent; and 70 per cent of all Internet traffic within Africa is re-routed
outside the continent, driving up costs for businesses and consumers.

"We need a Marshall Plan for ICT infrastructure development in Africa," said
Dr Touré. "We have to mobilize the world's human, financial and technical
resources to support economic growth, employment and development across
Africa." He added that support was pouring in from partners in this
endeavour, including from leading ICT companies in Silicon Valley and
elsewhere — who have been given the challenge of replicating their successes
in Africa — as well as from governments, international organizations and
development banks. He pointed out that the Chairman of Intel Corporation Mr
Craig Barrett is spearheading the efforts through his leadership of UN GAID.

With less than 8 years left to meet the 2015 targets of the UN Millennium
Development Goals (MDG), drastic steps are required. Dr Touré pointed out
that meeting ICT connectivity targets would act as a catalyst in achieving
the broader development goals. "ICT is a means of creating wealth and
sustainable economic growth," he said.
* **UN Secretary-General to support Connect Africa initiative*

Earlier, speaking at a function at the International Telecommunication
Union, UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon expressed his full support to the
*Connect Africa* initiative and said that it represented an important step
in overcoming the digital divide. "This is an important vision," he said.
"We need to make our best efforts, as part of our MDG programme, to bridge
this gap." He also said that ITU should broaden its vision and commitment to
meeting long-term global concerns, such as climate change.

The *Connect Africa *Summit will be held under the patronage of the
President of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, and Chairman of the African Union,
President John Kufour of Ghana. It will be organized by the International
Telecommunication Union, the African Union, the World Bank Group and UN
GAID, in partnership with the African Development Bank, the African
Telecommunication Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. This
collaborative effort will engage some 500 high-level stakeholders active in
the region, including China, India, the European Commission and G8, OECD and
Arab countries, major ICT companies, the United Nations Development
Programme and other international organizations.

"This will not be just another Summit," said Dr Touré. "It will be a Summit
of commitment between partners, not a meeting to negotiate new resolutions."
The private sector, governments and international organizations will be
called on to work together, and there will be a commitment to creating an
environment that promotes the improvement of ICT. "ICT is a business, and
the only way to ensure sustainability and large-scale effects is to provide
an environment that lets business deliver ICT," added Dr Touré. "For too
long we have had negative information coming from Africa; we have to bring
positive news."

Speaking on behalf of GAID, Mr Walter Fust, Director General of the Swiss
Agency for Development and Cooperation, said, "ICT is extremely important
for managing knowledge for development, and for bringing local knowledge
into development." He stressed the importance of the *Connect
Africa*initiative and said that emphasis should be laid on a few
targeted areas,
such as using ICT to empower people with disabilities and to "reverse the
pyramid of learning" by ensuring that all schools are connected to the
Internet. He added that the goal is to establish 500'000 telecentres
worldwide by 2015.
* **Online Media Accreditation for the Connect Africa Summit is now open*

For Press accreditation, see *

Information and media briefing notes are available at the designated
newsroom for the Connect Africa Summit, click
* *

*For further information, see
here<http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/connect/africa/2007/index.html>or please

*Sanjay Acharya
*Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 249 4861
E-mail <http://www.itu.int/home/feedback/index.phtml?mail=pressinfo>
* *

*Enrica Murmura
*Secretariat of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development
New York
Tel: +1 212 963-5913
E-mail murmura at un.org
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