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Kigali, Rwanda, 29 October 2007 — The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Telecommunication Union, agreed to collaborate on interconnecting all African capitals with ICT broadband infrastructure, strengthening connectivity to the rest of the world by 2012.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Donald Kaberuka and the Secretary-General of ITU, Hamadoun Touré, announced this today at the Connect Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
Commenting on the challenge ahead, Mr Kaberuka said, "In recent years, private investment in ICT infrastructure, especially in mobile phone networks, has had an enormous impact in many parts of Africa, but major gaps remain. The development banks and other financing partners have a responsibility to step in where these gaps are holding back development in the region."
"The solution for African development is not charity," Touré said. "African countries need modern, reliable broadband ICT infrastructure to attract investment for jobs and economic growth. This is about economic independence and strengthening Africa’s competitive position in the global economy."
As part of this collaboration, AfDB and ITU will actively mobilize partners and financing to close ICT broadband infrastructure gaps between major centres in Africa. AfDB hosts the Secretariat of the African Infrastructure Consortium, which brings together major donors and financial institutions active in the region. This group plays a crucial role in the financing of projects, as well as in ensuring a coherent approach among those involved.
"The Bank aims to stimulate economic growth and climate and facilitate economic integration. We want to make the economies of Africa more competitive, and therefore AfDB is committing to the development of information and communication technology across the continent," Kaberuka said.
To support the implementation of ICT infrastructure projects funded by the AfDB or other interested financing partners, ITU will serve as an executing agency and provide telecommunications expertise and technical assistance, where the need arises. ITU will also mobilize its base of more than 650 Sector Members, including many leading ICT industry players.
To support new ICT infrastructure investments and fill in remaining gaps, AfDB and ITU will jointly undertake feasibility studies and develop project proposals in consultation with Member States and other stakeholders in the region.
With the aim of rationalizing available funds and building on efforts in other sectors, AfDB and ITU will also work together to promote wider integration of ICT with other major infrastructure investments. This would include laying broadband fibre alongside transport and energy projects, as well as encouraging innovative infrastructure sharing approaches among telecommunication/ICT operators.
AfDB and ITU also agreed to collaborate in assisting countries to develop policies and regulations to encourage new ICT infrastructure investments.
The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution which is dedicated to combating poverty and improving living conditions across the continent. The ADB Group is also engaged in mobilizing resources for the economic and social progress of its Regional Member Countries.
The Bank’s mission is to promote economic and social development through loans, equity investments and technical assistance.
The Group includes :
ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues, and the global focal point for governments and the private sector in developing networks and services. For more than 140 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems.
ITU also organizes worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums bringing together the most influential representatives of government and the telecommunications industry to exchange ideas, knowledge and technology for the benefit of the global community, and in particular the developing world.
From broadband internet to latest-generation wireless technologies, from aeronautical and maritime navigation to radio astronomy and satellite-based meteorology, from phone and fax services to TV broadcasting and next-generation networks, ITU continues to play a central role in helping the world communicate.
The Connect Africa Summit takes place in Kigali, Rwanda, 29−30 October 2007, under the patronage of Mr Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and Mr John Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chairman of the African Union. It is being organized by the International Telecommunication Union, the African Union, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in partnership with the African Development Bank, the African Telecommunication Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Global Digital Solidarity Fund.
The overall objective of the Connect Africa Summit is to mobilize the human, financial and technical resources required to close Information and Communication Technology (ICT) gaps throughout Africa. The Summit offers a venue for leaders from the public, private and financial sectors to network face-to-face and forge new partnerships. Debate centres on the key success factors vital to advance ICT investment and boost growth in Africa, including the expansion of broadband infrastructure, "last mile" access and rural connectivity solutions, establishing a business-friendly policy and regulatory environment, developing an ICT-skilled workforce and relevant applications and services, and striking a balance between private and public investment.