ICTs in Africa: Evidence of a Continent on the Move (Kaberuka)

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Bank Group President, Donald Kaberuka, on Saturday, January 31, 2010, delivered a statement that focused on Information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the first day of the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where ICTs constitute the theme of the 14th Ordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government.

He provided details of the objective to be attained through technology on the continent.ICTs have, for more than a decade, driven economic development. In Africa, they have incontestably changed thinking on development policy. On the continent, many countries have relied on these technologies in their development efforts.

President Kaberuka used the occasion to present to the continent’s highest authorities, AfDB initiatives designed to help efforts at implementing their strategic orientations and programs in the areas of economic and social development, in general, and ICTs, in particular.

He also discussed actions and strategies implemented in concert with member states of the Bank and the African Union to overcome challenges posed by the global financial and economic crisis.

Highlights of the Statement:

“Assessments converge that in 2010 Africa will probably resume its pre-crisis growth path- and indeed is likely to be the second fastest growing continent after Asia. Our projections for 2010 are converging around average real growth of 5% in 2010 and 6% in 2011. There remains serious risks and uncertainties which have potential to unravel this renewed performance.”

“In the last twelve months, to support your Governments weather the storms, we more than doubled our lending and grants from 5.6 bn dollars a year before the crisis,  to just over 11 billion dollars by December of 2009.”

“While we have reason to be proud of the manner in which we are gradually overcoming the worst of this crisis, we have also to learn the lessons necessary. I see three: 1- The risk of continued dependence on primary commodities; 2- The need for a faster pace in economic interaction and reducing further the cost of doing business; 3- A reassessment in relation to the role for the State in supporting economic development.”

“Despite the international financial crisis, ICTs in Africa remain an attractive business. We see our role as continuing to facilitate and crowding in such investment as well as working with you to improve the business climate, including and especially regulation that makes that investment possible and sustained.”