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ICT and Telecommunications in Least Developed Countries

Review of Progress Made During the Decade 2000 - 2010

image of ICT and Telecommunications in Least Developed Countries

The ITU report ICT and Telecommunications in Least Developed Countries: Review of progress made during the decade 2000-2010 is produced as an input to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2011. The objective of this report is to present projects and actions the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) undertook from 2006 to 2010 to assist least developed countries (LDCs) in joining the knowledge economy through the deployment and use of information and communication technologies (ICT). The report seeks to complement and update the 2001-2005 review of activities ITU presented at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in 2006, in which the UN conducted a comprehensive mid-term assessment of the progress made until then in implementing the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 (PoA). The Programme of Action was adopted at the Third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, held in Brussels in May 2001, to establish a comprehensive, result-oriented, poverty reduction strategy, tailored to the special needs of the LDCs. The Programme of Action – also known as the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) – has an overarching goal to make “substantial progress towards halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015 and promote sustainable development” of LDCs. To this end, the BPoA developed a framework for partnership between LDCs and their development partners carrying the overarching goal of helping in the eradication of poverty.

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Addressing identified bottlenecks and constraints

The implementation of actions and projects in LDCs during the last decade has allowed ITU to identify some of the bottlenecks and constraints that impede progress in the deployment and upgrade of ICT and telecommunication networks in these countries. The 2006 mid-term review of the implementation of the BPoA identified six areas that required attention to make universal access possible. Five years later, the same constraints remain, but actions taken by the LDC governments and the intervention of the development community have made some inroads in lessening their pervasiveness in some cases. Building on the concerns expressed in 2006, this chapter overviews some of the actions that LDCs, along with the ITU and other development partners have undertaken in the last five years to reduce the impact of such bottlenecks and constraints on the telecommunication sector’s growth, with the goal of, eventually, eliminating them.

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