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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mobile and Internet improve in LDCs - ITU report

Remmy Nweke in Grahamstown, South Africa

United Nations (UN) agency in charge of telecommunications development, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has said that mobile and internet connectivity improved in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of the world.

Just as the full report is due to be released at the forthcoming Brussels Plan of Action review in New York slated for tomorrow, Wednesday.

It would recall that currently estimated 50 LDCs have been recognised as such by ITU globally.

ITU in a press statement endorsed by the Chief, Media Relations and Public Information at ITU, Sanjay Acharya and Head, Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States and Emergency Telecommunications also of ITU, Cosmas Zavazava said that it is no longer doubtful if the state-of-the-art information and communication technologies (ICT) could empower people to achieve their development aspirations through information and knowledge.

According to the officials, in the past five years, many of the LDCs have made remarkable progress in achieving the ICT connectivity targets set out in the Brussels Plan of Action for Least Developed Countries.

“These targets have been met by 25 of the 50 LDCs,” ITU said.

The mobile sector in LDCs, the world body said, has grown considerably and access to the internet has also increased, providing a host of applications, such as electronic education (e-education), electronic-health (e-education), e-business, e-agriculture, and e-government as attached in the goals and objectives of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

So, ITU, plans to launch its report on ICT/Telecommunication development in least developed countries, tomorrow in New York.

The report, they said, examined key developments in the ICT and telecommunications sector including trends and challenges in the world's poorest countries in the period 2001 to 2005.

Also, the report will be unveiled during a special session on "Integrating Least Developed Countries (LDCs) into the world economy through telecommunications/ICT" to be held during the mid-term review on implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for LDC for the decade ending 2010.

ITU further said the special session will review progress in ICT and telecommunications development in LDCs as well as discuss the concrete work to be implemented in the next five years.

Others areas of priority for the New York meet agenda, ITU said, include promotion of universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable access to ICT in underserved areas.

Equally, rehabilitation and reconstruction of telecommunication infrastructure in LDCs following disasters and war as well as ICT for disaster management would receive attention, even as the dissemination of understandable warnings to those at risk would be discussed.

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