Monday, September 14, 2009

Nigeria, 42 others to benefit from HIPSSA – ITU boss

A total of 43 out of 52 African countries, including Nigeria, would directly benefit from the Harmanisation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policies in Sub-Sahara Africa (HIPSSA).

The Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure, made this disclosure Friday at a press conference to bring to a close the African Telecom Development Initiative (ATDI) Summit, which held in Abuja.

Highlighting a couple of areas where ITU has been playing concrete role in sustainability of the gains of telecommunications development on the continent, Dr. Toure, who was accompanied by the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe and Head, External Affairs & Corporate Communications at ITU, Mr. Luiz Fernando Ferreira Da Silva, said that HIPSSA is being implemented with the support of the European Union (EU).

This, he said, would directly benefit 43 African countries, aimed at developing and promoting harmonized policies and guidelines for the ICT market.

He also said that HIPSSA would facilitate the building of human and institutional capacity in the field of ICT through a range of targeted training and knowledge-sharing measures.

In addition, Toure said that ITU through its current flagship project, the Connect a School, Connect a Community, to be launched at the upcoming ITU World Telecom 2009 in Geneva, would provide a set of new communities with access and education.

“We hope that the project would act as one-stop-shop for ICT access,” he said, noting that unlike a number of programmes managed by other organizations in the past, ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ do not promote dial-up or low-speed internet access, but instead focuses directly on broadband.

He emphasized that ITU with this project is focusing on giving access to communities via ICT centres for isolated, rural and marginal urban areas.

“We are placing particular focus on groups such as women and girls, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and youth and children,” he asserted.

According to him, ITU Telecom World expo represents an unrivalled opportunity for the ICT industry to showcase new products and services, and debate the crucial issues that will define tomorrow’s ICT landscape, in an environment that features a unique and unparalleled level of top public sector attendance.

He pointed out that the advent of financial crisis has led ITU to strengthen this aspect of the event, to promote active participant by Head of States and Government, thereby creating an exclusive and privileged opportunity for communications at the very highest level between the public and private sectors.

“We expect to welcome over 30 Heads of State and heads of government, along with C-level executives from any of the world’s most exciting Information and Communication Technology players,” he said.

Stressing that it is crucial at this period of world’s economic recovery that Africa’s ICT development brings together leaders from both the public and private sectors.

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