Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Connect Africa" initiative to be the focus of briefings at United Nations Headquarters, New York, 19-20 September

Geneva, 14 September 2007
What: Press Conference
When: 19 September 2007, 11:15 am EST (1515 UTC)
Where: Room S-226, United Nations, New York

Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Mr Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Development, Mr Walter Fust, Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Mr Mohsen Khalil, Director of Global ICT at the World Bank Group will brief delegates and the media next week in New York on a new initiative to bring ICT connectivity to Africa.

The Connect Africa Initiative will bring together governments, the private sector and other partners to carry out projects aimed at developing the continent's ICT infrastructure. The Initiative will be launched at a Summit of leaders in Kigali, under the patronage of H.E. Mr Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, and the Chairman of the African Union and President of Ghana, H.E. Mr John Kufuor on 29 and 30 October.

A press conference on Wednesday, 19 September at 11:15 am EST (1515 UTC) will feature Dr Touré, Mr Barrett, who is also the Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation, Mr Fust and Mr Mohsen Khalil. The press conference will be webcast live here.

On Thursday, 20 September from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in Conference Room 8 at the United Nations, the Kigali Summit and the Initiative will be introduced to delegates and NGO leaders during a high-level briefing by the Secretary-General of ITU, followed by a question and answer session.

The Connect Africa Initiative will function as a partnership to mobilize the human, financial and technical resources required to bridge major gaps in ICT infrastructure, with the aim of supporting affordable connectivity, applications and services. Investment in ICT will fuel economic growth and employment in the region and help fast-track targets to achieve broader development goals.

Connect Africa will promote the private sector investment required for sustainable network infrastructure development. It is designed to build on current public and private ICT projects by targeting major gaps, mobilizing resources and enhancing coordination in support of national and regional activities.

At the Global Alliance Steering Committee Meeting in Silicon Valley last February, participants agreed to support the Connect Africa initiative to accelerate broadband and wireless connectivity in Africa, with the goal of providing high-speed, low-cost connectivity to all regions of the continent in the next few years.

The Initiative is organized by the International Telecommunication Union, the African Union, the World Bank Group and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in partnership with the African Development Bank, the African Telecommunication Union, the Global Digital Solidarity Fund and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

For information, please click here or contact:


Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 249 4861

At the Global Alliance:

Enrica Murmura
Tel: +1 212 963-5913

At the World Bank Group:

Henny Rahardja
Tel. +1 202 473 4857

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