812 (XXXI). Implementation of the African Information Society Initiative (AISI)

The Conference of Ministers,


            Recalling resolution 795 (XXX) of 3 May 1995 on building Africa's information highway which requested the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa to constitute a high level working group to develop an action plan on information and communication technologies to accelerate socio-economic development in African countries,


            Appreciative of the initiative contained in document E/ECA/CM/22.6 related to the building of Africa's information society,


            Convinced that building Africa's information society will help Africa to accelerate its development plans, stimulate growth and provide new opportunities in education, trade, health care, job creation and food security, helping African countries to leap-frog stages of development and raise their standards of living;


            Sharing the vision of an African Information Society which calls for the building of information and decision support systems to enhance policy formulation, fostering a new generation of Africans capable of using information and communication technologies, building African information resources and linking Africa regionally and globally to the information age,


            1.         Expresses its thanks to the high-level working group for developing the African Information Society Initiative action framework;


            2.         Adopts in principle the African Information Society Initiative as an action framework for building Africa's Information Society and calls upon member States to incorporate the African Information Society Initiative in their national development plans according to national needs and priorities;


            3.         Calls upon the Economic Commission for Africa, in consultation with member States, along with the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Bank and international and bilateral partners in the harnessing of information for development priority area of the United Nations System‑Wide Special Initiative on Africa to use African Information Society Initiative as a guiding framework;


            4.         Urges member States to utilize the capacities and experiences of national, subregional and regional African centres of excellence in the enrichment and implementation of the African Information Society Initiative;


            5.         Requests the Executive Secretary of the Commission to:


                     (i)            Take action, in particular mobilizing funding and technical assistance, in cooperation with member States, regional organizations such as the Pan-African Telecommunications Union and the Regional African Satellite Communication System, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, bilateral and international partners to realize the goal of the African Information Society Initiative;


                    (ii)            Incorporate the action framework into the secretariat's work programme under the new strategic directions of the Commission programme area on harnessing information for development;


                   (iii)            Set up a regional mechanism to assist in development, follow‑up and coordinate the implementation of African Information Society Initiative programmes and projects;


                   (iv)            Establish a gender-balanced African technical committee to advise on programmes and projects and to evaluate results;


                    (v)            Ensure that the gender dimension is integrated into the policy document "African Information Society Initiative" in order to respond to the needs of both women and men appropriately and equitably;


            6.         Requests the Executive Secretary of the Commission to report to the next Conference of Ministers on the progress of implementing this resolution.


301st meeting,

8 May 1996.