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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Negroponte, Akwule, others for digital confab

Remmy Nweke

Chairman, One Laptop Per Child Foundation, Prof. Nicholas Negroponte and renowned telecommunications expert based at the George Mason University, Fairfax, United States, Prof. Raymond Akwule would lead other Information and Communications Technology (ICT) exponents to the first continental Digital World conference slated for Nigeria in September.

This is the first time the conference is coming to Africa and is being hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in conjunction with Growing Business Foundation (GBF) and the Think Tank forum of the Club of Rome, otherwise known as tt30.

Founded in 2001, tt30 is the young think tank of the Club of Rome, focusing on network for the debate and resolution of today’s global problems and challenges. It is made up of about 30 independent men and women drawn worldwide, between the ages of 25 and 35.

While NCC is the nation’s regulatory authority for telecommunications and over the years, has earned a reputation as a foremost telecom regulatory agency on the continent.

Head, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Dave Imoko, said that the theme of the event scheduled for September 12 and 13 in Abuja is “ICTs for Education and Development,” and that, at least, nine global experts have confirmed participation as speakers at the event including the aforementioned.

Other leading figures in the global ICT to join the two professors are Dr. Mohsen Khalil of the World Bank, Prof. David Mellor of Strathclyde University, Prof. Raoul Weiler, President Club of Rome and Mr. Joerg Geier, tt30 Club of Rome.

Also for the Digital World is another United States-based Nigerian scholar, Prof. Manny Aniebonam of George Washington University, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, and Dr. Osita Ogbu, the Economic Adviser to the President, among other speakers.

According to Mr. Imoko, the proposed conference is in line with the United Nations (UN) recently concluded two-phased World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which rounded up in Tunis on November 18, 2005.

He pointed out that WSIS outcome identified ICT as the main factor that will accelerate development considerably and globally over the next decades.

“It was also noted that the use of these new tools will enhance the processes of educating young people in Africa and elsewhere,” he said.

Mr. Imoko further said that embracing the age of information and knowledge societies has become a prerequisite for any nation that desires development in 21st century and Nigeria would not be left behind.

“It’s widely recognised that education – formal and non-formal is the key for fighting poverty, enhancing human development and achieving the various Millennium Development Goals. Today, access to information and to knowledge can be significantly enhanced by new and widely available technologies,” he said.

The Digital World Conference 2006, will promote dialogue and action towards taking full advantage of ICT tools to address the challenges and requirements for education and development in Africa.

Just as several exciting development projects will be showcased at the event, including the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

At the conference, he explained that there will be a combined plenary sessions, breakout session, exhibition, networking and data management.


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