07.04.2005 Press Release

CTO To Host Commonwealth Ict Ministers Conference

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06 April 2005


Telephone: +44 20 7930 5511 Fax: +44 20 7930 4248 E-mail: [email protected]


London, 6 April 2005 - The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) will host a major high-level conference of Commonwealth information and communication technologies (ICT) ministers in Cameroon in September. The meeting was decided as part of this year's Commonwealth Action Programme for the Digital Divide (CAPDD) in view of the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting (CHOGM, Malta, November 2005) and also in preparation for the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS-II, Tunisia, November 2005).

The decision was reached following the second meeting of CAPDD Coordinating Committee held in London where several proposals for organising the high-level meeting were presented. The ministers' meeting will coincide with a week of important activities organised by the CTO in Cameroon, including its annual business forum (CTO Forum 2005) and its 45th Annual Council meeting (CTC-45).

Commenting on the decision of the Commonwealth institutions that are partners in the CAPDD to entrust the CTO with this important assignment, the CEO of CTO, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah said: “This is a year for ICTs. It is a year during which the global community will be gathering in Tunis for the second and final phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. It is also a year in which Commonwealth Heads of State have chosen as the theme for their bi-annual consultations the subject of 'Networking in the Commonwealth', which has clear implications for the use of ICTs to promote the development objectives of member countries.”

“It is gratifying that our sister institutions have reposed confidence in the CTO for the organisation of this important consultation event. We are confident that the Ministerial consultations will produce a valuable outcome that will feed well into both the WSIS and CHOGM processes”, the CEO added.

The London meeting was aimed at identifying a number of themes and areas on which the Commonwealth should concentrate to add value to the international efforts for ICT and to prepare for the Cameroon high-level conference. The meeting was also an opportunity to consider the practical contributions the Commonwealth agencies would make to the WSIS in Tunis, ahead of CHOGM.

Present at the London meeting were a number or personalities from Commonwealth agencies, including Prof. Victor Ayeni, Director, Governance and Institutional Development Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat; Mr Anthony de Bono, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah and Lasantha de Alwis, respectively Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Corporate Secretary of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO); Sir John Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL); Mr Henry Alamango, Executive Director of the Commonwealth Network of Information Technology for Development (COMNET-IT); Dr Mohan Kaul, Director-General of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC); and Mr Christopher Mercieca, Head of Secretariat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malta.

The second phase of WISIS is expected to focus on two major issues: the governance of the Internet and mechanisms for funding of the digital divide. The Cameroon meeting will focus on finalising a coherent contribution of the 53-strong group of countries to the November world summit.


For more information, please visit or contact Marcel Belingue at [email protected] or telephone: +44 20 7930 5511.

About the CTO - The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is an international development partnership between Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, businesses and civil society organisations focused on information and communication technologies (ICT) and development. The CTO supports the international community's efforts to bridge the digital divide and promote social and economic development, by delivering to developing countries unique knowledge-sharing programmes in the use of ICTs in the specific areas of telecommunications, IT, broadcasting and the Internet. Recently, the CTO has significantly reviewed its mandate to reflect and respond more fully to today's global development challenge as set in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Today, our mission is to offer the highest quality programmes for capacity development, knowledge-sharing and information services, expand and diversify partnerships between governments, businesses and other organisations to reduce global poverty and fulfil the global development agenda for ICT in the key sectors of food and agriculture, education, health, e-government and e-commerce. The CTO also facilitates the successful development of telecommunications and other businesses to support social and economic development objectives of governments and civil society.

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