IT Brings Africa & Europe Closer ?

Written by | Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
M. Guillermo Guttierrez

The sector of information & communications technology (ICT), which is booming worldwide, is creating more opportunities and reducing the gap between rich & poor around the world.
It seems that the ICT is empowering the African people as the technology is becoming more accessible, competitive and a powerful tool in this digital age to spur social & political changes, enhance governance and democracy.
Information technology also plays a major role in speeding up Africa’s socio-economic development, bridging the digital divide between the Black continent and Europe and enabling Africans reduce poverty and reach the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations.
Sensing the huge growth business opportunities in this sector, the European Union leaders rushed to support IT partnership projects with Africa, funding joint programs and encouraging cooperation with African countries in this field. They have even set up an ambitious action plan which seeks to foster cooperation in ICT scientific research between the two continents. Funded by the European Commission, the plan dubbed “Euro Africa-ICT Initiative” aims to enhance joint projects spelling out ICT priorities, best practices, policies and market opportunities.
This initiative is also destined to promote e-health, local innovation & technology transfer, e-learning & e-skills, the best ICT applications for environmental sustainability & energy efficiency, mobile technologies and international collaboration in IT matters.
Two “Euro-Africa ICT” events will be held in the few coming weeks Africa to look into all this whole host of issues. The first one is scheduled in Nairobi (Kenya) 25-26 September 2013, while the second will be held 2-3 December in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
These two events, featuring debates by experts on ICT opportunities and development projects, will help African and European countries share experiences and expertise while building strategic partnership serving their mutual interests.
The EU, one of the most powerful regional blocs, has pledged lately to promote fair trade with Africa and help the impoverished continent better integrate in the world economy, benefit from growth dividends, respect human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
As the African continent is plagued by military coups and political instability, affecting investments and business, the European leaders support all peace-building initiatives, focusing on conflict prevention and resolution in the Black continent and pushing for better economic regional cooperation and integration between African countries.
Thanks to the ICT and global economies, the world is becoming more and more interconnected and interdependent. What happens anywhere in the world impacts everywhere around the globe. It’s clear that the Europeans and Africans can no more escape or ignore each other. The Europe can’t go on building its own future without helping the Africans build their own. One needs the other. So, let’s build a global community of shared responsibilities, shared values and shared benefits.

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