Saturday, November 26, 2005

"Access for Africa: Tech summit in Tunisia ends with ideas and promises -- but little funding."

Read the full Associated Press article in MIT's Technology Review.

"A crucial summit on expanding Internet access around the world ended with a firm promise to narrow the digital divide -- but little in government funding to make it happen.

"The World Summit on the Information Society co-sponsored by ITU and UNESCO) originally was conceived to raise consciousness about the divide between the haves and have-nots, and to raise money for projects to link up the global village, particularly Africa and Asia and South America.

"Instead, it was overshadowed by a lingering resentment about who should oversee the domain names and technical issues that allow people" to use the Internet.

"'They have promised and promised and promised, and it's not the first time that they have promised this,' said Diallo Mohamadou, a telecommunications consultant from Senegal. 'In 2000, they promised to connect all the small villages far away from the big cities in Africa to the Internet. Five years later and nothing has happened.'

"Participants said more than 200 new initiatives were unveiled at the summit, but no exact dollar amount, said T. Kelly, head of the strategy and policy unit for the Geneva-based ITU."

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