Conference on Global Connectivity for Africa
2-4 June, 1998
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will host a major conference
where the benefits of cable and satellite for the development of Afri-
can countries will be thoroughly examined. The conference entitled,
'Global Connectivity for Africa', will take place in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia, from 2-4 June 1998. It is part of the programme of the Afri-
can Information Society Initiative (AISI), which ECA implements with
its partners, as well as a follow up of the Global Knowledge Conference
hosted last year in Toronto, Canada, by the World Bank and the Canadian
government, and the follow up of Africa Telecom '98 which took place in
Johannesburg from 4-9 May 1998.
Global Connectivity for Africa, co-sponsored by international institu-
tions such as the World Bank Group, the Information for Development
Programme (infoDEV), the International Telecommunication Union, the In-
ternational Telecommunication Union, the African Development Bank and
the Netherlands Government, has also attracted the attention of private
sponsors including World Space Corporation, Siemens, Ellipso, Teledesic
and Iridium. Over 300 leading figures in the area of telecommunication,
including some 20 high level ministers, representatives from civil so-
ciety as well as private African and non-African companies, are ex-
pected to participate in the conference to thrash out the options and
issues pertinent to achieving global connectivity for the continent.
The issue has, for sometime now, been recognised as one of the prereq-
uisites for sustainable development in Africa.
The impact of Global Connectivity on the continent's development will
start off a series of plenary sessions that will discuss issues of
"Connectivity and Economic and Social Development", and "Africa and the
Global Information Economy". A close look at the policy and regulations
that would create an enabling environment for Global Connectivity is
also on the agenda.
One of the means African countries can achieve regional co-operation
and integration is through investing in telecommunications networks,
which not only facilitates economic trade in goods but also promotes
service providing sectors. The conference hopes to provide a unique op-
portunity for African decision makers, promoters of these technologies
as well as users to engage in frank dialogue on the issues and options
of connectivity open to the continent and the value of information for
Africa in terms of trade and commerce.
Peter da Costa
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
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