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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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Conclusions and recommendations

The review of the progress made since 2001 in the implementation of the commitments included in the BPoA makes evident the great effort that LDC governments and their development partners, including the ITU, have made in improving the quality of life of their populations and in facilitating sustainable development through the deployment of information and communication technologies and the upgrade of existing networks. Since the adoption of the BPoA in 2001, LDCs have made inroads in establishing an enabling regulatory environment that fosters competition, network investment and the provision of telecommunication services to a larger portion of their populations. The rapid adoption of mobile cellular technology in these countries has helped narrow the digital gap with developing and developed countries. However, the minimal progress achieved in the deployment of fixed and mobile broadband signals the need to implement more effective strategies to bring technology and international Internet bandwidth costs down, so that by improving affordability, service uptake is able to rise in these countries.

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