Communication and information for Africa

Communication and information have great potential for human development. Africa being one of the main policy issues of the G8 Gleneagles Summit 2005 (6-8 July 2005), WebWorld’s "In Focus" features UNESCO’s recent communication and information activities in Africa with special attention to the free flow of ideas, universal access to information, the expression of pluralism and diversity and access for all to ICT.

The countries of Africa demonstrate an increasing determination to free themselves from poverty and marginalization in the globalized world. The region has embarked on a fresh process of collective and concerted action geared to bring peace and development. UNESCO has made Africa a priority.

In the area of communication and information, UNESCO is giving special consideration to the following strategies:

  • Promoting the free flow of ideas and universal access to information
  • Promoting the expression of pluralism and cultural diversity in the media and world information networks
  • Access for all to information and communication technologies (ICT)

These strategies are based on two UNESCO's major themes: “Eradication of poverty, especially extreme poverty”, and “The contribution of information and communication technologies to the development of education, science and culture and the construction of a knowledge society”.

See also:

Free flow of ideas and universal access to information

Pluralism and cultural diversity in the media

  • Study Shows Positive Impact of African Languages on FM Radio
    A study carried out by the Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), indicates that people surveyed in Mali, Ghana and Senegal appreciate African language broadcasts.
  • Launching Africadoc 2005
    The first phase of Africadoc 2005, an initiative to train independent African film makers, started in Saint-Louis in Senegal.
  • Multilingualism in Cyberspace Conference Concluded in Bamako
    Essential steps to ensure that a language, that is not yet represented on the Internet, is included in cyberspace, were identified at the conference on “Multilingualism for Cultural Diversity and Participation of All in Cyberspace".
  • Marie Finds her Voice
    Marie Ekaney, mother of five and presenter at the local community radio station, enjoys her new status as a star. She knows her work is benefiting other women in the Saharan village of Ingall, Niger.

Access for all to ICT

  • VSAT at CMC Puts Benin Community in Touch with World
    Banikoara Community Multimedia Centre (CMC) in Benin has provided many essential services to the large but isolated local community in this cotton-growing region since 2002, but until recently, it was hampered by poor Internet connectivity.
  • UNESCO Installs First CMCs in Mali Scale-up Initiative
    UNESCO this week installed the first of the new community multimedia centres it is establishing in Mali as part of a scale-up initiative also involving Mozambique and Senegal.
  • Mali CMC Gets High Speed Connection
    The Koutiala CMC in Mali has its first high speed Internet connection via local wireless loop, allowing it to become a mini Internet service provider for the locality.
  • Workshop Launches New ICT Partnership in Mali
    "We welcome the opportunity to use this research methodology – for the first time in Africa – as we think that it will be an important tool in providing better access to new information and communication technologies,” said Monsieur Adama Kansaye, the prefect of Koutiala, during the inauguration of a workshop on ethnographic action research.
  • Mozambican President Opens New Community Multimedia Centre in Chokwe
    President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique will cut the ribbon at the new Community Multimedia Centre (CMC) in Chokwe later today, 27 May, as part of UNESCO’s CMC scale up initiative for 20 such centres across the country, combining community radio and telecentre facilities.
  • The First Scale-up CMC Gets off the Ground in Mozambique
    The first Community Multimedia Centre (CMC) in Mozambique to be opened as part of UNESCO’s multi-country scale up initiative was inaugurated on 9 May in Xinavane.
  • Learning Outside the Classroom in Namibia
    The traditional model of education is known as a classroom with four walls and a teacher. Over the years this image has changed.
  • The MultiMedia Training Kit Experience in Nigeria
    Chinyere Ljomah, founder and project officer of the Youth Repositioning Foundation in Nigeria, came across the MultiMedia Training Kit (MMTK) whilst browsing the UNESCO website.
  • A trainer’s experience at the Sengerema Community Multimedia Centre (CMC) in Tanzania
    Like other CMCs, Sengerema combines a community radio station with the infrastructure of a telecentre that offers access to ICTs and short computer training courses to locals.
  • Uganda CMCs Scoop Awards
    Two community multimedia centres supported by UNESCO in Uganda reaped the rewards of their efforts to impact at the grassroot level earlier this month, when they dominated the UNICEF Children's Broadcasting Day Awards.

ICT and poverty reduction

UNESCO's Communication and Information Sector has recently launched several activities focusing on poverty reduction with the help of ICT. Similar projects could be developed for the specific needs of the African region.

>> More on UNESCO's communication and information activities in Africa

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