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14.09.2005 General News

Highway Africa initiatives follow Nkrumah's dream

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From Emily Nyarko, GNA Special Correspondent, Grahamstown, South Africa

Grahamstown (S/A), Sept. 14, GNA - Professor Chris Kabwato, Director of Highway Africa, on Tuesday said the vision of the Highway initiative was to bring into fruition the dreams of past leaders such as Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, First President of Ghana, who lived and worked to push the development of the African Continent forward. "Our dream is not about despair, poverty or desolation but to live the dream of people like Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who dreamt of an Africa free of ignorance and hunger."

Prof Kabwato was speaking at a joint award ceremony organised as part of activities marking the ninth edition of the Highway Africa Conference 2005 currently taking place at Grahamstown, South Africa. The awards were given in the categories of 2005 Highway Africa Awards for Innovative use of New Media and the 2005 Africa Information Society Initiative (AISI) Media Awards.

The award by the Highway Africa group was in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Prof Kabwato said: "We believe that ICT must be at the disposal of the people and should be applied in all spheres such as health, finance and education.

He said ICT formed part of the dream to invent the future and that was why it was important to equip and motivate journalists to embrace and apply ICT in their work.

Mr Thierry Amoussougbo, ECA Regional Adviser, said the award was to strengthen journalism in the Information Society and give journalists the capacity to be able to report on the Information Society as it unfolded in Africa and to create linkages between Information Society issues and development.

He expressed the hope that delegates at the ongoing Conference 2005, which is on the theme: "Reinforcing Journalism in the Information Society" would actively take part in the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) to be held in Tunisia in November 2005 to make Africa's voice heard.

He said it was, therefore, right that African journalists were trained to be ready to participate very aggressively and actively in the Summit.

Organisers said the awards were to encourage more informed coverage of the Information Society and Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) issues in Africa as part of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa's (UNECA's) Information Society Outreach and Communication Programme.

They are targeted at individual journalists and media institutions that are based in Africa and are promoting journalism work that contributes to a better understanding of the information society in Africa. The AISI awards attracted 96 entries from Africa with the majority coming from West Africa and Nigeria taking most of them. The first prize in the category of promoting the Information Society in the print media went to Godfred Ikhemuembhe of Nigeria for an article on the unique and practical examples of how rural villages in Africa have improved food security and achieved economic growth through the use of ICT. The second prize in the same category went to Laid Zaghlami of Algeria, who wrote on how the media in Algeria was tackling technological challenges in a fast changing Information Society. Awussaba Adjowa Magbede of Togo whose entry was on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), which is a contentious issue in most African countries, won the first prize in radio category.

The second prize in the radio category went to Filifing Diakite from Mali, who is a two-time winner of the AISI award. His report was on the activities undertaken in a Youth Development Centre established with the support of Environmental Development Action in the Third World (ENDA-TW) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The first prize of the AISI, GTZ Media Awards on promoting the Information Society-Television category went to Bayero Agabi from Nigeria. He entered a work on "Satellite and its importance" that captured a rare balanced view of an ongoing debate.

Joel Ekue Kuegah-Tedio took the second prize for a piece on the "Internet bus as a tool for multimedia access."

The first prize of the AISI, International Institute of Communication Development media award on local content was given to Kitaw Yeyehyirad from Ethiopia, whose entry was online on Ethiopia's national language, Amharic, as a language choice for users of a unique website. The entry demonstrated the value of local content in a language that its intended users can read, write and interact with. The second prize in the same category went to Segun Oruame from Nigeria, whose website provides information on all the issues that refer to Nigeria's ICT namely, regulation, open source, local innovation, security and software development.

There were other media awards for Local Content Applications, reporting on Research and Innovation, reporting on ICT policies, reporting on ICT and Rural Communities and the best female reporter.

The awards were sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft f=FCr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), Open Society Initiative for Western Africa (OSIWA) and the International Development Research Council (IDRC).

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