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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Commonwealth connects COMARCI project

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has announced the launch of its project for African rural inclusion known as Commonwealth African Rural Connectivity Initiative (COMARCI).

Chief Executive, CTO, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah while making the announcement, said it has been structured to promote faster telephone and internet connectivity for rural communities in the 18 Commonwealth African countries.

COMARCI, he said, would cost about £1.2 million (about N295,966,12 million) project was launched in Kampala, Uganda, as a sideline event at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), with a £50,000 seed funding from the government of Malta through the Commonwealth Connects programme.

This, he stressed involves collaboration with the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

“There is no longer debate about the role information and communication technology (ICT) plays in the development process, and especially how mobile phones and the Internet are helping to transform Africa’s economies,” he said.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah added that if Africa is to achieve the majority of its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), “it must address quickly and creatively the special challenges by poor, illiterate, marginalized, disadvantaged rural populations.”

According to him, this COMARCI project would eliminate the digital marginalisation of rural societies.

“It will enhance education, employment and empowerment in Commonwealth Africa. It will enable the people in Africa to become stronger participants in development by providing access to improved literacy, innovation, entrepreneurship and e-commerce, as well as e-governance,” he pointed out.

COMARCI experts at CTO said, would involve research, consultations and workshops to mobilise investment, funding and technology partnerships to assemble a body of knowledge to develop a connectivity roadmap for Commonwealth Africa, which would benefit the ICT sector, the business community and citizens.

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