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Africa ICT sector susceptible to “shocks”

May 7, 2011 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

Abdoulie Janneh United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Africa (image credit: AFDB)

Despite the fast growing information and technology sector in Africa, a top United Nations official has said the continent is still vulnerable to “shocks.” The UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa Abdoulie Janneh said the continent must remain careful if it is to overcome its “weak technological and industrial base.”

In an ECA Information and Communication Center press statement, Janneh said that Africa is still far behind other regions of the world in ICT and that further action is needed to buttress the growing sector.

“While primary commodities make up about 80% of Africa’s merchandise exports, the ratio is 54% and 24% in the Latin America and Caribbean region and Asia respectively. Yet, we know for a fact that Africa is unlikely to transform this situation without significant investment in science, technology and innovation,” he said.

He added that the overall impact posed by the global and financial crisis to development in Africa could be overturned, striving to meet the Millennium Development Goals should be a top priority.

He said that “outlook remains quite uncertain as food prices are again approaching the record highs of 2008, which means that many poor people, for whom food bills make up to 80% of income, will be seriously and negatively affected.”

By Jonathan Terry

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