WSIS+10: Advance SDGs for secure and vibrant digital economy in Africa

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The FINANCIAL — The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS) initiative, the Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA) and the African Union (AU) joined forces on December 15 to provide an integrated view of the lessons learned from the implementation of the United Nations (UN) millennium development goals (MDGs) and the good practices imperative for enabling the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The review took place at a side event hosted during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) +10 high level review meeting at UN Headquarters in New York. Under the theme “Digital economy and sustainable development”, the luncheon event highlighted the value of information communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet in the underpinning infrastructure for economic and social progress and providing tools for programmes in sectors such as health, finance and education. Panelists from business and the governments of Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa shared perspectives on how to ensure the Internet continues to be a platform for growth and a critical enabler of sustainable development, according to ICC.

Co-moderators of the session Joseph Alhadeff of Oracle and Chair of the ICC Commission on the Digital Economy, and Moctar Yedaly of the African Union, invited participants to how progress towards the SDGs could be made, reflecting on the myriad ways in which ICTs have already helped to advance several MDGs in Africa.

Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Service, South Africa, who took part in the event, said: “If we really want to bring a new agenda of how the use of ICTs helps us to step up our efforts, to equalize and create a sustainable society, we have to deepen our conversations as partners and as to what responsibilities we bear, and how we measure the commitments.”

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Chaired by ICC Secretary General John Danilovich, the event also featured Adebayo Shittu, Minister, Ministry of Communications, Nigeria, Nermine El Saadany, Under Secretary for International Relations Division, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Egypt and ICC BASIS members Jimson Olufuye, Chairman, Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA).

The interactive discussion focused on the development of a secure and vibrant digital economy in Africa that would help the region better integrate into the global digital economy. Egyptian small business owner and ICC BASIS Officer Hossam El-Gamal said: “We need competitiveness, transparency, security and openness to encourage investment and bring the next billion online.”


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