ADDIS ABABA– The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Director for Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management Jean-Paul Adam underscored the importance of building the information and communication sector infrastructure in Africa.
Jean-Paul made the comments during a session at the ongoing Internet Governance Forum taking place in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, that runs until Friday, the UNECA said in a statement issued late Wednesday.
The UNECA official emphasized the crucial importance of providing access to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in Africa. “Africa has the lowest implementation of appropriate capacity development aspects with only 25 percent of citizens having access to basic ICT skills,” Adam said.
The UNECA is working with the government of Rwanda to establish a regional center of excellence on education from science to technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics to support curriculum development with a particular focus on ICT across the continent at the early education level, he added.
According to Adam, building the information and communication sector infrastructure in Africa will play a crucial role in addressing the digital divide at the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2023.
The WSIS Forum 2023 is scheduled to be held from March 13 to 17 next year at the International Telecommunication Union headquarters in Geneva under the theme “WSIS Action Lines for building back better and accelerating the achievement of the SDGs.”
This year’s edition of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF-2022), which kicked off on Monday and runs through Friday, is being held under the theme “Resilient Internet for a Shared, Sustainable, and Common Future.”
According to the UN, the IGF-2022 is in particular putting a spotlight on the African continent, which is the least connected, with 60 percent of the population offline due to a combination of reasons.
The UN, in a statement regarding the ongoing forum, said there is immense potential in empowering the youth to thrive in the digital economy and leapfrogging technologies.
It also said that for a staggering 2.7 billion people, many of them living in developing and least developed countries, meaningful connectivity remains elusive. – Xinhua