The Connect Africa Summit, to be held in Kigali, Rwanda October 29-30, is expected to help address ICT infrastructure issues on the continent by helping formulate a "Marshall Plan" for ICT infrastructure development that will enable the achievement of the 2015 targets of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
"We need a Marshall Plan for ICT infrastructure development in Africa. We have to mobilize the world's human, financial and technical resources to support economic growth, employment and development across Africa," said ITU secretary general Dr Hamadoun Toure.
While investment in ICT infrastructure in Africa has improved dramatically in recent years, representing a total of $8 billion in 2005 from $3.5 billion in 2000, Africa has fallen back in overall connectivity.
Growth in mobile phones has increased by as much as 400%, surpassing fixed-line telephone access. However, fewer than four out of every 100 Africans have Internet access.
Broadband penetration remains below 1%, and 70% of all Internet traffic within Africa is re-routed outside the continent, driving up costs for businesses and consumers.
Toure said support was pouring in from partners, including from leading ICT companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, as well as from governments, international organizations and development banks.