Monday, May 16, 2011

In Geneva, the UN at the bedside of the digital divide

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) opened its doors Monday, May 16 in Geneva. This annual forum is organized by several UN bodies, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UNESCO. For one week, the sixth session since the inaugural summit in Tunis 2005regroupe a wide range of actors from new technologies and institutional members of government, private sector, but also experts and representatives of nongovernmental organizations.

In total, over 1000 people from 140 countries will attend conferences in Switzerland. "With the WSIS, we want to help fill various gaps and inequalities, and how the information technology and communications (ICT) can help to build an information society which excludes no one, develops Juan Somavia, Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

ICTs have revolutionized business and work, creating opportunities to increase income and employment. " This new edition of the WSIS entered 2015 as a horizon. It is the fixed date that the UN achieve its Millennium Goals ", which include reducing extreme poverty, and the guarantee of an education for children.

But the information technology and communication, including the adoption of broadband, are among the ways to achieve some of these projects in developing countries. THE "MIRACLE OF MOBILE" We have made many advances in connectivity, "said Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, noting that it exists in Tech News Buzz over 5.3 billion mobile phones and more 2 billion Internet users.

"Our next step should be to copy the 'miracle of mobile' for broadband internet: it's essential to ensure social and economic development," the UN official. Mr. Toure also note, in developing countries, significant progress in infrastructure investments for broadband but also lower prices for customers, which could facilitate the adoption.

But as pointed out a note from the ITU, the digital divide remains difficult to bridge. If the average growth rates of ICT may seem high in some parts of the world, they "hide wide disparities. "In late 2008, the Gambia, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania have boasted penetration rates of mobile above 60% - well above the European average in 2000 - but the real teledensities [rate telephone equipment] of Eritrea and Ethiopia are below 4%, "says such international organization.

For more information: Internet in Africa, the end of the digital desert?

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