Ms Lyndall Shope-Mafole, Director-General of the Department of Communication, South Africa has urged African journalist to get together to help the continent achieve the aims and objectives of the New Partnership For Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
“We cannot talk about Africa’s development outside the socio-economic programme of Africa Union (AU) and NEPAD.
She was addressing over four hundred journalists from all over Africa at the tenth anniversary of Highway Africa Conference held in Grahamstown in South Africa on the topic “Implementing World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in the Context of NEPAD”
She explained that WSIS is within the leadership of NEPAD especially for the people of South Africa .
She said ICT is very crucial for the socio –economic development of Africa and therefore every country must make its a point to invest in that sector. “ICT is a tool for Development”, she added.
She said NEPAD could have done better as at now but she was confident that in the areas of ICT, there has been a great improvement.
She cautioned that unless children in Africa have access to ICT they wouldn’t be able to stand a chance in the world even though they must have had basic education. “They would become educated illiterate”, she added.
She said investment in infrastructure is a key in socio- economic development.
Ms Lyndall Shope-Mafole cautioned that unless African countries understand their own problems, find solution to them, nobody can help them.
“We must put development in our own hands, try and understand them, it’s only than we can stand up to our development partners when necessary.”
By this way, she explained “no development partner from a developed country would just push down any policies down our throats”
She disagreed with the notion that African leaders just attend conferences, come out with great resolutions, only for the resolutions to be kept on shelves without being implemented.
According to Ms Shop-Mafole, decisions taken at the UN and other conference are very important because some of the decisions give Africa the hope that “we can also advance if we have the necessary tools, education and resources.”
She mentioned some of the aims and objectives NEPAD: to eradicate poverty; to place African countries, both individually and collectively, on the path of sustainable development and to halt the marginalisation of Africa .
Highway Africa Conference over the past ten years has continuously aimed at providing its delegates and participants with skills and knowledge which can be used to be better journalists and ICT and News Media champions.