ITU And Microsoft Unite
Highway Africa News Agency (Grahamstown)
2 November 2007
Posted to the web 2 November 2007
By David Kezio-Musoke
The United Nation’s, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Microsoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the ‘Connect Africa Summit’ outlining how they will work together to build a safe, inclusive and networked information society.
During the signing ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda, the two partners also launched an ITU Global View, a virtual earth-based online platform to track and help accelerate the implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) goals in Africa.
The partners also agreed to support programmes providing skills development and capacity building along with the delivery of relevant applications and services in Africa. These would include the delivery of a new online solution for all stakeholders to showcase and track the implementation of development projects in Africa.
In addition, ITU and Microsoft said that they would collaborate globally on cyber-security and provide support for regulators in developing countries.
Dr Hamadoun Touré, the Secretary-General of the ITU said, “We are very pleased that Microsoft, as an early signatory of the ITU Connect the World initiative, is stepping up its commitment to help address the effective use of ICT infrastructure in Africa.
“Connect Africa is a call to action for the private sector, and we are encouraged by the progress we have made together with Microsoft to broaden the scope of capacity building in Africa,” he added.
Michael Rawding, Vice President, Unlimited Potential Group, Microsoft Corp said that bringing the benefits of technology to the next five billion people will require new approaches to development and new partnerships between international organizations, governments, and the private sector, referring to the one billion already connected to the Internet.
“Through Unlimited Potential we are committed globally to applying technology to advance social and economic opportunity, and we look forward to working with ITU on shared development and technology goals,” he added.
The on-line visualization platform called Global View, was demonstrated at the Summit.
Based on Microsoft Virtual Earth, ITU Global View integrates a broad range of new and existing data sources on global ICT for development accomplishments in support of the WSIS goals.
Easy to view, the software was developed in partnership with IDV Solutions. The online platform will be hosted and maintained by ITU, and will be open to all stakeholders and governments, industry, international and regional organizations, as well as civil society – allowing users to check status, identify gaps and avoid overlap in collaborative efforts to achieve the WSIS goals.