Experts from Regional Economic Community (REC’s), the African Union Commission (AU), NEPAD secretariat and the UN agencies are meeting in Kigali to undertake a comprehensive review on the status of Information Communication Technology (ICT) programmes in Eastern Africa.
The two days workshop which started yesterday focuses mainly on analysing the impact of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) ICT programme in terms of the adopted objectives, goals and targets.
It will also embark on identifying the gaps and lessons learned from ICT NEPAD programs.
According to Antonio M.A. Pedro, Director sub-regional office for Eastern Africa (SRO-EA) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, NEPAD has identified ICT as one of the priority programmes and established a special task force to coordinate the implementation.
In his opening remarks Pedro further said, “We should interrogate how best in Eastern Africa regional ICT can help build modern and competitive societies.”
“NEPAD ICT programme will monitor, asses, evaluate and measure the impact of the development of ICT policy in the sub region.”
Pedro said that ICT is an important tool for regional integration.
ICT experts are expected to highlight the benefits of NEPAD/ African Union (AU) commission ICT initiative in the Eastern Africa sub-region.
In this context the meeting of experts will contribute to assist NEPAD secretariat, RECs and member states in their efforts to develop ICT programme through NEPAD ICT programme.
Participants are also expected to define a regional ICT programme in the NEPAD context in Eastern Africa, develop consensus on the way forward to implement ICT programme in the sub region and submit the recommendations and work plan to AU conference in Addis Ababa in January 2010.
“However ICT does not happen in isolation, it is a means to achieve development that is why we need to engage it with other initiatives such as spatial development initiatives that the northern and central corridors are promoting and the commodity corridors that the Nile basin initiative is launching” said Antonio Pedro.
In the quest for ICT development in Eastern African region, NEPAD ICT secretariat has been active since 2002 exploring the deployment of broad band infrastructure in the region.