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Int'l Cooperation Vital To Bridging Digital Divide

International cooperation vital to bridging digital divide, says Secretary-General

Cooperation among the international community is key to overcoming the "digital divide" that separates poor communities from affluent ones through their lack of access to information and communication technology (ICT) and to bolstering development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In a message to the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN-GAID) meeting of officials and experts in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mr. Ban said that it is necessary to build on the momentum generated by the Connect Africa Summit held last October in Kigali, Rwanda, where African nations discussed how to improve their information technology infrastructure.

"Bringing more of Africa online is only a first step which must be followed by the provision of content, computers and software to give meaning to this emerging connectivity," the Secretary-General said in an address delivered by Guido Bertucci of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

Noting that millions of children in dozens of developing nations lack access to computers, he said that this technology must be made available to students to allow for "a breakthrough in education that will help foster development for generations to come."

Mr. Ban pledged the UN's support and commitment to expanding ICT, stating that "working together, we can make good on promises to bridge the digital divide, student by student, classroom by classroom, and country by country."


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