A Speech Presented by His Excellency The Minister of State, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, on the occasion of the opening of the First Edition of the ICT for Africa Conference. The Speech was delivered by the Secretary General, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, on behalf of the Minister of State
Director of Ceremonies
Honourable Ministers here present
Members of the Diplomatic Community
Government Representatives and Non- Government
Representatives of International Development Agencies
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to preside over the opening ceremony of this first ever African-American high level Round Table conference that brings together stakeholders of the educational and industrial sectors, with the aim of reflecting on how to transfer, diffuse and adopt the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) within the African context. The “ICT for Africa 2008 Conference” is aimed at creating a discussion forum for accelerating the building of ICT infrastructures and capacities for African educational systems. This first edition of the event which brings together various stakeholders of the ICT domain from within Africa and beyond, creates an opportunity for participants to share knowledge and experiences in the use of ICTs for the promotion of quality education through and improved teaching and learning process. This initiative is a milestone in African renaissance.
I wish to acknowledge, with appreciation, the role played by the organizers of this event, particularly the International Centre for Information Technology and Development as well as the US-based partners like the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), the Louisiana Board of Regents and the Cameroon-based partners like ADCOME, ANTIC and others.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The “ICT for Africa 2008 Conference” comes at a moment when the Government of Cameroon is highly engaged in promoting the use of ICTs as well as de development of ICT infrastructures in Cameroon. In fact, the sector strategy document for the Telecommunications and ICT domain attaches a lot of importance not only to the development of ICT infrastructures but also to the integration of ICTs in the educational system. In this regards, the document earmarks the creation of an interuniversity telecommunications network as well as the interconnection of primary and secondary schools, through a high speed optical fibre national backbone. All of this falls in line with the national vision of universal access to the Internet by the Cameroonian people, as stated by the Head of State, His Excellency Paul Biya.
In line with the sector strategy document, the Government of Cameroon has signed a Protocol Agreement with the Government of India on the Pan-African e-Network with the aim of providing Tele-Education, Tele-Medicine and Online diplomatic services to the Cameroonian citizens. Still under the Pan-African e-network framework, the University of Yaoundé 1 shall be hosting one of the Regional Virtual Universities in Africa. The “ICT for Africa 2008 Conference” therefore comes at the right moment to give an impetus to the actions already being undertaken by the Cameroon Government.
There is a growing amount of research that aims at bringing out the critical role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in improving the socioeconomic and political status of developing nations in general and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in particular. These technologies have in fact been penetrating the Sub-Saharan African at an exponential rate. My wish is that this event should reveal some of the trends and also trigger actions from the various stakeholders towards the improvement of ICT penetration and usage in our country.
I therefore invite all the participants to explore the rich components of the “ICT for Africa 2008 Conference” and also provide necessary positive contribution towards the success of the event. You should also develop strategies to uncover issues within the particular input areas like Tele-Medicine, Tele-Education, Tele-Democracy/E-Government, etc.
Furthermore, we need not over emphasize the innovative use of information technology to provide low-cost solutions that have gone a long way to support strategies in different areas and helped in advancing the world economy. The “ICT for Africa 2008 Conference” is opening a window for the African economies to adapt to this paradigm.
Also, higher education across the world faces numerous challenges and teaching institutions have to change their modes of operation to deliver knowledge in a faster and more effective manner by taking advantage of the new technologies.
I hereby encourage the students and lecturers of Universities in Cameroon and Sub-Saharan African countries to exploit the opportunities offered by this forum especially those that are centered on the very sensitive topics of discussion.
I will not end this speech without expressing, on behalf the Cameroonian people, a warm welcome to all our guests.
It is on this note that I declare the “ICT for Africa 2008 Conference” officially open.
Happy ICT for Africa Conference!