AFRICA URGED TO TAKE UP INDIAN US$55M ICT DEVELOPMENT OFFER
Information and communication technology (ICT) gurus meeting last week recommended that Africa should take up the US$55 million offer by India to develop ICTs across the continent over the next five years.
The deal is subject to approval by individual African countries, who should conclude bilateral agreements with India prior to AU consent. But under the transaction, India has proposed to connect 53 member states of the African Union by satellite network (VSAT) and fibre optics to provide mainly tele-medicine and tele-education services.
The programme comprises an e-component connecting universities and hospitals, as immediate instances, plus capacity building by India, which over the five-year period would supply, install and maintain the equipment. India will also provide expertise, as well as transfer it, after which Africa would be asked to take-over. The project is aimed at providing Africa with a vital modern tool for the provision of e-services. It will also improve the use of ICTs on the continent, necessary to bridging the digital divide in Africa, as well as moving towards the attainment of some of the Millennium Development Goals in education and healthcare.