Ministerial Oversight Committee (MOC V)
Cairo, Egypt
May 10th - 12th, 2002

Final Communiqué

The Ministerial Oversight Committee of the African Telecommunications Union, having met in Cairo from May 10-12, 2002

Recognizes the decision of the African heads of state to chart a new developmental approach for Africa as enunciated in NEPAD adopted in Lusaka in July 2001. MOC commits itself to the support and implementation of ICT NEPAD program and objectives;

Recognizes the indispensable role of ICT in social and economic development;

Reiterates the necessity and usefulness of the African Telecommunications Union to continue being the permanent African Ministerial organ for the decision making on ICTs;

Recommends to the next ATU Plenipotentiary Conference that ATU’s structure should reflect and incorporate both telecommunications and IT, enabling it to become the coordinating body and repository of all commissions and committees which are established or mandated by African states.

Stresses the need for the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) to set a reachable quantifiable target for bridging the digital and knowledge divide proportionate and closely linked to the realization of the Millennium Developmental Goals with special attention to poverty reduction;

Identifies the following priority themes for the World Summit of Information Society and any similar global or regional forum as:

  • Infrastructure: MOC highlights the priority of ICT infrastructure using submarine, terrestrial and satellite technologies to ensure effective interconnectivity within and between countries, regions and continents. All African countries are encouraged to establish country internet exchanges so as to ensure a continental internet grid that would ensure collective self reliance in internet traffic.
  • Human Resource Development: MOC reaffirms the centrality of HRD in the development process. It encourages cooperation between countries in ICT training, knowledge management and human capital development particularly in scarce skills. Africans in the Diaspora represent a valuable vehicle for technology and know how transfer to be utilized by their countries. There is an urgent need to develop and undertake a massive e-awareness campaign and the establishment of an e-learning network in Africa.
  • Regulatory Issues: MOC invites countries to establish and maintain transparent and open regulatory regimes that will enhance and promote the Information Society from a developmental perspective; and in so doing there is a need to harmonize various regulations and policies on a regional and global level.
  • Content: MOC emphasizes the need for local content development in such a way as to ensure the universality of benefits of ICTs thus preserving and enriching the cultural and national heritage of nations. Local content provision shall be encouraged, and Intellectual Property Rights shall be protected coupled with methods of technology transfer that guarantee the flow of knowledge at an affordable price to developing nations. Many services shall enhance content development. Included in these are the provision of official government information through e-government, and commercial information through e-commerce.
  • Business and Industry Development: MOC recognizes the role of public private partnerships both at the national and international levels. Local Industry Development is a necessary condition for the realization of the information society. In this regard, MOC supports the establishment of an African Business Forum for Communications and Information Technology, which will be a main forum for forging alliances among African ICT business sectors. Egypt has been mandated to take the steps towards establishing this Forum with the view to convening its formative meeting at the periphery of the next ATU Plenipotentiary meeting in Khartoum in September 2002.

Highlights the need for closer coordination between Africa and the Arab World as a way of consolidating South-South cooperation. In this regard, Egypt has been entrusted to forge such cooperation and share best practices. ATU secretariat are requested to establish the link through Egypt to the relevant bodies of the Arab League.

Establishes a subcommittee of the MOC with the aim of issuing recommendations regarding the continental structure and mechanism governing cooperation in the field of ICT within the African Union.

Decides to hold its next meeting the day before the ATU meeting in Khartoum in Sudan.

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