Communique of African Ministers

795 (XXX). Building Africa's information highway

The Conference of Ministers,
Cognizant of the need to promote co-operation in the exchange of information in support of the African Economic Community as well as of development efforts at the national, subregional and regional levels;

Mindful of the need for African scientists and researchers to continue to participate in scientific and technological activities at the global level; Bearing in mind the need for emphasizing the importance of expanding Africa's information highway by building and utilizing critical capacities in Africa to this end;

Bearing in mind also the need to establish information networks and data bases as specified in the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community as well as the emphasis placed on information technology in the Lomé IV Convention;

Recognizing the need for African countries to develop information networks for full Internet connectivity to enable them to have the same access to information that the rest of the world now enjoys; Recalling resolution 49/134 of the United Nations General Assembly on Strengthening information systems for Africa's recovery and sustainable development;

Recalling also its resolutions 716 (XXVI) of 12 May 1991, 726 (XXVII) of 22 April 1992, 732 (XXVII) of 22 April 1992 as well as resolution 1993/67 of the Economic and Social Council of 30 July 1993;

Appreciative of the joint effort of the Economic Commission for Africa, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International Telecommunication Union and the International Development Research Centre in organizing the first African Regional Symposium on Telematics for Development in Addis Ababa in April 1995;

Noting with satisfaction the performance of ECA's subprogramme activities on information systems development in the delivery of technical assistance to member States;

Further noting with satisfaction the assistance of the International Development Research Centre and other donors in promoting the Information Age in Africa;

Bearing in mind the need to strengthen ECA's information support for subregional economic co- operation and integration,

1. Urges member States which have not yet done so to take the necessary steps to build national information networks for decision making and planning as part of the infrastructure for Africa's information highway;

2. Calls upon member States to promote the exchange of experiences with a view to assisting each other in speedily establishing their national information networks;

3. Requests the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa to:

(a) Set up a high-level working group on information technologies and communications in Africa made up of African technical experts with a view to preparing a plan of action in this field;
(b) Mobilize the financial resources necessary for the operations of the aforementioned working group;
(c) Present a report on the implementation of this resolution to the next Conference of Ministers.
Adopted at Addis Ababa
2 May 1995

Editor:Ali Dinar,