The Commonwealth Business Council in conjunction with the International Telecommunications Union, the Government of Mauritius and the E-Africa Commission (NEPAD) will be organising a three-day forum aimed at bringing stakeholders together to examine concrete projects, proposals and models which will help integrate least developed countries into the global economy through the effective deployment of information communication technologies (ICTs). The forum will bring under one roof, decision makers from stakeholder organizations and engage them in fruitful discussions that will hopefully lead to commitments that can be implemented on the ground.

* The forum will include a mixture of plenary and multi-stakeholder roundtables.

* On the first day there will be a "ministerial" session drawing on the experiences and challenges facing LDCs; launch of a publication on market opportunities in least developed countries’ ICT sector; a scene setting session; a private sector roundtable.

* The second day will focus primarily on discussing ICT projects and on donor perspectives.

* The projects will cover: projects successfully completed; projects that have made some headway but could do with additional stakeholder support; proposals for new projects

* The forum will cover four broad areas: Infrastructure, Education/Health, Universal Access and SME Development

* The projects will have been identified well in advance of the Forum and a projects catalogue will be published

The goal is to find innovative solutions to the problem of under-development and to set the stage for replicating solutions or projects that have worked elsewhere in order to save time and resources without having to re-invent the wheel. The idea is to move away from the so-called "perpetual pilot project syndrome" to projects that can make a difference on the ground. This forum will provide a rare opportunity for key stakeholders to come together not only to discuss, but to map out practical strategies for deployment of ICT projects for development. The Forum is a complete departure from past such forums where the end product has tended to be reports, and expressions of commitment.

The goal of the Forum is to challenge delegates to provide real world, deployable ICT solutions for development and to encourage practitioners and high-level participants to brainstorm real world ICT driven solutions, which will meet development challenges head-on.

We would encourage all stakeholders to attend this Forum and bring their own unique perspective. This is an initial announcement and there will be further announcements in due course.


Novell SA has announced that its annual BrainShare conference, tipped to be the most exciting yet, will be held between 26 and 28 May at the Sandton Convention Centre.

According to the company the conference brings the local ICT industry a wealth of information on the business challenges being addressed in the ICT space, as well as insights from local and international spokespeople and partners on trends and technologies that will be rolling through over the coming year in the local market.

"BrainShare 2004 is going to be the most information-rich and exciting conference that we have held to date," says Trish Barwick, Novell SA channel and marketing manager.

"We have staked a serious claim on the enterprise Linux space and together with our local partners, we will showcase the latest enterprise offerings in the market."

>From a technology perspective, it says, it will be showcasing its complete Linux stack, slew of identity management solutions, Web services and resource management tools which will provide a comprehensive set of cost-effective answers to the most pressing ICT questions that customers face today.

Novell says that BrainShare 2004 will also provide users and partners with an opportunity to revisit significant Open Source announcements that Novell has made during the past two months, including: the availability of Novell GroupWise 6.5 for the Linux platform and announcement of a public beta of Novell ZENworks 6.5 ­ which includes Ximian’s Red Carpet Enterprise and ZENworks Patch Management.

The conference will also cover topics concerning Novell’s announcement of an Open Source systems management project that will, for the first time, provide a platform on which customers can tie together disparate systems using current systems management tools, such as ZENworks, HP OpenView, Ximian Red Carpet Enterprise, Tivoli, and Unicenter, to name a few. Novell says that the conference will allow for discussions on the contribution of the industry management tool, YaST, from its SuSE Linux business unit to the General Public Licence.

Another topic on the agenda, according to the company will be the iFolder Open Source project, which will form the basis for the next enterprise version of Novell iFolder and is being developed using the Mono framework - a community project initiated by Novell to develop an Open Source version of the Microsoft .NET development platform.

Other topics include: the announcement of Novell Open Enterprise Server, a combined NetWare and Suse Linux product, which will deliver networking capabilities associated with Novell’s NetWare platform and the company’s SuSE Linux and Ximian offerings.

ICT World