Dr Hamadoun Toure

The Pan-African Forum on sharing best practices in ICTs staged in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, at the weekend, explored the exploitation of digital data for the development of the continent.

The two-day forum, organized with support from ITU, highlighted ICT solutions to accelerate socio-economic development in Africa.

ITU said the theme of the Forum, “Digital Data for Development (DATA4DEV)”, reflected the high-level commitment in Africa to exploit digital data for the development of the continent and to use this wealth of information to diversify services and information to the general public while creating new business opportunities.

Preceding the Forum, the ITU-IMPACT and Member States meeting was held on 10 October under the patronage of the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré.

The International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) is the executing agency of ITU to enhance the global community’s capabilities in dealing with cyber threats. President Compaoré chairs the advisory board of IMPACT and leads efforts to encourage governments, the private sector, academia and international organizations to strengthen cybersecurity and promote cyber peace.

The meeting reviewed the activities carried out by ITU-IMPACT to assist Member States in achieving cybersecurity and discussed possible scenarios for the long term sustainability of the alliance, which currently comprises of 146 Member States.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré reflected on the spectacular progress and innovative development of ICTs over the past decade and noted that, by end 2013, mobile cellular penetration in Africa will exceed 63 per cent. “ICTs are everywhere and are part of our daily lives offering tremendous opportunities,” Touré said. “But like all tools, the Internet has its good and bad sides. Our collective action to improve the safety of the use of ICT in the world has a positive impact on our ability to take advantage of new opportunities that are offered online.”

Dr Touré added that much progress has been made in strengthening cybersecurity worldwide since 2007 when he launched ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda, which provides a framework for international cooperation aimed at enhancing confidence and security in the information society. He emphasized the need to work together “so that we can make the Internet safer for everyone”.

The Pan-African Forum in Ouagadougou was held ahead of the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. African Heads of State and Government will gather in Kigali, 28-31 October 2013 along with industry leaders and international development experts to push for the accelerated roll out of broadband as a means of driving socio-economic transformation on the African continent.

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