Sustainable Development Success Stories

Capacity building for electronic communication in Africa

Location  Africa.
Responsible Organisation United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Description Projects activities included:
  • Carrying out overall network building and developing supportive infrastructure for networks in thirty-five countries in Africa regardless of types of users, groups, institutions or network protocol involved.

  • Human resource development ranging from sensitising of policy makers to skill building for systems operators.

  • Building a user base that justifies sustainable operation of networks and that leads to cost sharing. This included the promotion of user groups.

  • Documenting activities, carrying out research and building data bases on connectivity.

  • Dissemination of information on connectivity.

  • Promotion of networking in Africa 

Issues Addressed Capacity-Building.
Results Achieved
  • Connected 35 African countries, trained their respective systems operators, enhanced information and data exchange among African countries and with the rest of the world.

  • Prepared African researchers, planners and stakeholders to embark on the information age. 

Lessons Learned
  • The emergence of many grassroots institutions from a mere link to five or six users to a full service provider.

  • The increase in the conflict between national telecommunications regulations and emerging networks, which lead to pressure that resolved the problems in favour of users and in some cases increased monopoly.

  • The increase in recognition of the impact of electronic network on research. Information sharing and social and economic development was improved.

  • The growth of awareness of the complex social economic and political issues that needed specific planning, resource mobilisation and an initiative for information society. 

Contact Ms. Karima Bounemra Ben Soltane, Chief
Development Information Services Division (DISD)
UNECA, PO Box 3001, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel. (251 1) 511408; Fax (251 1) 510512/514416
E-mail: Bounemra.uneca@un.org or hafkin.uneca@un.org