Youth need more access to information technology

May 20, 2007 • Top Stories

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged policymakers and industry leaders to work with young people to give them access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
In his message of support for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day – celebrated on Thursday – Mr Ban said in many instances, young people were the driving force behind innovation in the development and use of new technologies.

“But the digital chasm leaves others out of this picture, and unable to capitalise fully on the benefits of globalisation.

“Young people everywhere must have equal opportunities to rise out of poverty and illiteracy, and to realise their full potential,” he said.

The day is being observed under the theme “Connect the Young”.

Pointing out that the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had been helping the world to communicate from the advent of the telegraph to the present; he said the entire UN system, following the world summit on the Information Society, was now committed to strongly linking ICT with development.

“So let us promote visionary public policies, innovative business models and creative technological solutions that will empower young people and engage them in the global effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” he said, referring to the internationally agreed targets for reducing poverty and other world ills by 2015.

Furthermore, 16 UN Information Centres (UNICs) that provide communication services to 34 countries in sub-Saharan Africa today launched new websites in an effort to bring the work of the UN closer to local constituencies.

In addition to news generated by UN Headquarters, the UN country teams and the UNICs themselves, the websites will host translations of key UN documents into more than 20 national languages.

They will further provide a variety of links to UN system websites and programmes, according to UNIC Pretoria, which is responsible for ongoing maintenance and updating of the sites.

The websites will be based at the UNICs in South Africa Ghana, Madagascar, Eritrea, Republic of Congo, Burundi, Senegal, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Togo, Zambia, Lesotho, Burkina Faso, Namibia and Cameroon.

In a recent Pan African ICT in Government Summit that took place in Swaziland, different stakeholders in the ICT sector agreed to work together in order to help governments deliver efficient services through technology in Southern Africa.

The aim of the summit was to explore ways of making government services more accessible to the people through technology.

Among those attended from the public sector included representatives from the governments of South Africa, Mozambique, Burundi, Swaziland, Botswana, Kenya and Uganda. – BuaNews



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