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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Ethiopia to Host Int'l Information Technology Forum

People's Daily -- Ethiopia said Monday it has been elected to host the Third World Information Technology Forum, which is scheduled to be held on August 22-28, 2007.

According to a news release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an agreement enabling it to host the forum has recently been signed in South Africa between the Ethiopian government representatives and officials of the forum.

The ministry said Ethiopia is selected to organize the forum due to its efforts to reduce poverty, ensure good governance and its commitment to improve public service provision.

It also said information and communication technology-related programs and projects, which enable to design and implement multi- faceted development programs, helped the country to be selected to host the forum.

The Second World Information Technology Forum was held in 2005 in the Botswana capital of Gaborone, with nearly 900 senior government officials drawn from over 70 countries taking part in the meeting.

The forum aims at sharing experience on policy implementation with a view to supporting developing countries in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The commitment of the Ethiopian government in giving due priority to information technology has been commended as compared to other African countries which are at the same level of development, the ministry said.

Ethiopia, one of the poorest nations on earth, will expand Internet coverage from a handful of users to the entire country in three years.

Currently there are just 30,000 Internet lines in a country of 71 million people, making it one of the lowest users of information technology in the world, according to a study by the World Bank. But within six months that figure will be expanded to 500,000 lines.

The Ethiopian government has begun laying 10,000 km of fiber optic cables and invested around 40 million US dollars in developing its Internet service.

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