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ICT Best Practices Forum West Africa
Bank Group Underscores Contribution to ICT Development in Africa
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, June 8, 2007 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, reaffirmed its commitment to integrate ICT in development projects, promote the financing of ICT projects at country level and regional levels and stimulate investment by encouraging private sector participation in infrastructure development and ICTs.
The AfDB made the commitment during a joint session with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on the Enabling Environment for ICT and Economic Sectors at the ICT Best Practices Forum in the Burkina Faso capital.
The Bank’s approach with regard to facilitating the development of ICT in Africa is to systematically support member countries that strive to integrate ICT in their projects and their development activities, encourage co-operation, partnerships and the management of regional networks with a view to accentuating local and regional development efforts.
Over the last three decades, the AfDB has provided over 30 countries with more than US$ 1 billion for the financing of information technologies. Between1995 to 2005, the Bank allocated more than USD 440 million for the development of telecommunication infrastructures. It also provided support to regional projects such as the African Regional Satellite (RASCOM) and the East African Sub-marine Cable System (EASSY). The Bank has financed national and regional projects and programs integrating ICT in the health, education, agriculture and rural development sectors. It has played an important part within NEPAD in the development of the ICT program, particularly in the preparation of the NEPAD Short Term Action Plan, STAP, and the Medium to Long Term Strategic Framework, (MLTSF) for infrastructure development.
The Bank is supporting Regional Member Countries in formulating and developing ICT projects and reforming public administration with specific emphasis on e-governance and e-commerce.
ECA, for its part, reaffirmed the need to create an enabling environment which requires the development of requisite ICT infrastructure and strategies and addresses the challenge of massive investments for ICT deployment in Africa. Such an environment will provide the framework within which ICTs are mainstreamed into the national planning and development process, to facilitate the achievement of national priorities and objectives.
ECA has been working with member states to develop appropriate ICT policies and strategies at the country level as well as with the Regional Economic Communities regarding sub-regional ICT policies in accordance with the African Information Society Initiative (AISI). As of May 2007, more than 30 African Members States have formulated an integrated ICT policy and some are implementing ICT programs and projects with a view to ensuring a transition to a knowledge economy on the continent.