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15.11.2005 General News

Youth faces development challenges VEEP

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From Emily Nyarko, GNA Special Correspondent, Tunis

Tunis, Nov. 15, GNA - Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Wednesday said social and economic pressures of the youthful population and the need to turn them into an asset for development were the major development challenges facing Africa.

Delivering a keynote address at a round table at the ongoing World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, Alhaji Mahama said Africa was also confronted with economics of low job creation capacity that was dominated with under-performing agricultural sectors and weak industrial and services sector.

He said the situation therefore, required more efforts from leaders to achieve the targets of the Information Society that was linked with the Millennium Development Goals aimed at halving poverty by 2015. Alhaji Mahama said, "the limited human resource capacity coupled with poor and limited communications and telecommunications infrastructure certainly demand more from us if we are to accomplish the Information Society targets realizable by the year 2015."

The summit dubbed: "Summit of Solutions" has more than 30 Heads of State, representatives of the United Nations Agencies, including UNESCO, business executives, Civil Society Groups, the Media and ICT experts in attendance.

It is the final stage of the WSIS aimed to strategise and translate the declaration of the principles and the plan of action adopted at earlier meetings into concrete plans.

The Vice President said global partnership for development was fundamental to the promotion of the information society and that Ghana on her part had over the years developed governance structures to encourage progressive contributions from the private sector.

He enumerated some of the government's programme for the development of telecommunications in that all communities and have access to telephone, internet, multimedia services by 2010. Alhaji Mahama said Ghana's efforts had achieved some successes in the last four years by increasing telephone to the hinterlands of the country to over two million access lines in addition to the establishment of community information centres in the constituencies and the establishment of the universality fund for subsidising the cost of providing services in underdeveloped communities.

He however, urged cellular phone and other ICT service providers to reduce cost of their services to help build a truly inclusive information society for the citizenry.

The Vice President later visited an exhibition center, showcasing country and institutional programmes and products on ICT. Ghana's stand showcased developments in e-school, community information centres and the GIFTEL programmes being implemented in the country.

At the stand of a Chinese group, Huawei, an ICT solutions company, officials offered to assist Ghana in the implementation of the e-school programme. 15 Nov 05

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