African Regional Symposium on Telematics for Development, Ethiopia- 3-7 April '95

African Regional Symposium on Telematics for Development, Ethiopia- 3-7 April '95


UNECA Headquarters
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
3-7 April 1995
organized by:
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
In partnership with International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Background - Telematics for Development

The accelerating advancement of telematics - the marriage of telecommunications with informatics and audiovisual technologies - is spawning a multiplicity of new applications such as multimedia products and services, "intelligent" interfaces, high definition television, and ubiquitous computer networks seen as evolving rapidly towards "information superhighways". This transformation, although up until now evident mainly in the industrialized countries, will steadily improve access to rich and nearly instantaneous supplies of information worldwide, independent of distance, and lead to major changes in all societies - in the economy, in government, in life-styles, in cultural patterns and in education systems.

In particular, telematics will enable the creation of cooperative networks in Africa and, in a longer perspective, offer new opportunities for distance education, health care and other development-related activity. Access to information and know-how through such networks will enhance sustainable development in all sectors of society.

In 1992-93 ITU and UNESCO carried out a joint study entitled The Right to Communicate - At What Price? Economic Constraints to the Effective Use of Telecommunications in Education, Science, Culture and in the Circulation of Information, which analyzed the obstacles to and benefits of the application of telematics in these sectors, with particular attention to the situation of the developing countries. The study concluded that telematics is a major factor in the development process, and that users and telecommunication operators in developing countries have abundant possibilities to work together, with appropriate incentives from the public authorities, to initiate innovative approaches to telematics which take account of available new technologies and of market opportunities.

The present Symposium is intended as a forum to promote cooperative action for the development of telematics facilities and the use of telematics services in Africa, taking full account of existing efforts and infrastructure and with the concerted support of the international community.

Objectives of the Symposium

The Symposium aims to bring together representatives of actual and potential telematics users and service providers, telecommunication Administrations and operators, and concerned government agencies in order to:

1. provide an up-to-date overview of international advances in telematics networks and services, particularly for use in education, science, culture, the media and other development oriented sectors;

2. take stock of African initiatives to plan, develop, operate and improve telematics services;

3. explore African needs for telematics services for development and build bridges among the concerned user groups;

4. review and discuss the available, planned and required telecommunication facilities to satisfy these needs;

5. promote the elaboration of concrete national and regional strategies and policies for the development and use of telematics services, emphasizing market-oriented approaches and opportunities for partnership between user groups, telecommunication operators and public authorities;

6. consider cooperative financial and institutional mechanisms to promote the development of needed telematics services in Africa.


Participants from African countries will come from telematics user organizations (ministries, universities, research centres and councils, news agencies, broadcasters, small and medium industry, etc.), information and informatics service providers, telecommunication Administrations and telecommunication operators. They will participate in their personal capacities, but should be recommended by their employers or Governments.

Partial or full travel support will be provided to a limited number of participants by the sponsoring Organizations. International specialists will also participate, notably representatives of concerned bilateral, regional and international organizations (including international networks and telecommunication carriers) and a number of experts invited in their personal capacities. All participants will be expected to provide written communications, e.g. presentations of relevant experience or proposals, or national surveys of telematics use and potential.

The Programme

The Symposium programme, covering five working days, will tentatively include the following elements:

Presentations and discussion on international trends and opportunities in telematics (policies and strategies, technological evolution, etc.) Presentations and discussion on African initiatives and needs concerning telematics facilities and services Specialized sessions on: - connectivity for data communications in Africa and the role of standardization of telematics applications - infrastructure and services for video transmission and multimedia - appropriate tariff structures for telematics development - training, retraining and education through telematics.

Conclusions on national and regional strategies Recommendations on an action plan

Working Languages

English and French will be the working languages of the Symposium. The working documents will be established in both languages and simultaneous interpretation will be provided.


The Organizing Committee of the Symposium is composed of representatives of the sponsoring Organizations (UNECA, ITU, UNESCO, IDRC). Other international and regional organizations may subsequently join as sponsors. A Scientific Committee of distinguished African and international telematics experts will advise the Organizing Committee on the preparation and organization of the Symposium.

Information and Applications

Member States, telecommunication Administrations and other major institutions concerned with telematics in Africa are invited to recommend candidates for the Symposium. Applications to participate are also invited from interested individuals in Africa, and should be accompanied by a recommendation by the candidate's employer or Government. Applications should, if possible, be received before 31 January 1995.

Requests for information and applications should be addressed to: Ms. Nancy Hafkin
Officer-in-Charge, PADIS
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
P.O. Box 3001 Addis Ababa Ethiopia
Tel: (251-1) 51 11 67
(251-1) 51 72 00 ext. 281
Fax: (251-1) 51 44 16
(1-212) 963 4957

Candidates should provide the following information:
Full name: ________________________________________________________
Employer: ________________________________________________________
Position/title: ___________________________________________________
Full contact address: _____________________________________________
Telephone: _________ Fax: _________ Telex: _______ E-mail _________
Description of functions concerning telematics:
Title of contribution: ____________________________________________
(150-200 words): ___________________________________________
Financial support required:
Note: Limited funding is available to finance the travel and/or subsistence of selected African candidates. At equal levels of qualification, priority will be given to candidates who are able to obtain funding from their employers or other sources and who, therefore, do not apply for full support.

Message-Id: []
Subject: Cost Studies (fwd)
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 1995 09:42:11 -0500 (EST)

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D.
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