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UNbacked forum aims to spread technology knowhow in Africa

7 June 2007A United Nations-backed forum aiming to spread the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in West and Central Africa kicked off today in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The two-day meeting, called the ICT Best Practices Forum, was organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Government of Burkina Faso, the African Development Bank and Microsoft. This forum is an element of the African Information Society Initiative, and will allow Governments, donors, institutions and other groups from the region to share their experiences. Government leaders, as well as representatives from international financial organizations, donors, academia and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are expected to attend. According to a recent European Union meeting, if all of the innovations in ICT from all African countries were to be compiled in one country, it would be the 12th most technology advanced nation in the world. This finding highlights how African countries have much to learn from both each other and from nations worldwide. It is hoped that by providing an opportunity to exchange experiences and share successes, the high level of interest in technology in addressed development issues in African can be harnessed. The forum, which will be replicated in East and Southern Africa over a one-year period, also aims to enhance the effectiveness of Government institutions, as well as allow technology solutions to be diffused in the region. Microsoft, in concert with its partners, will create a ‘best practices’ website tailored to Africa to underscore issues discussed at the forums. read more