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infoDev and Alcatel issue a joint report on : "Promoting private sector investment and innovation to address the information and communication needs of the poor in sub-Saharan Africa"


Tunis, November 15, 2005 - As a joint contribution to the second phase of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) which will be held in Tunis from November 16 to 18, infoDev, a partnership of major public donor agencies, and Alcatel (CGEP: PA and NYSE:ALA), a worldwide leader in telecommunications solutions, are publishing a study. This report aims to highlight opportunities for achieving core development objectives, by bridging the gap between demand and supply of ICT services to meet the information and communication needs of rural and underserved communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It details the ways in which a combination of innovative technologies and creative business and financing models can create information and communication services that address the needs of the world’s poorest communities. It includes five case studies of creative and entrepreneurial small businesses focused on healthcare, mobile banking and market price information services that have found ways to meet the strong demand for affordable added value information and communication services.

Mostafa Terrab, Program Manager of infoDev, explains the motivation for the study by observing “Despite the proliferation of mobile phones in developing countries and all the recent enthusiasm about the Internet, several billion people continue to lack access to services that address their basic communication needs. We wanted to understand how these services can be provided, even to the poorest communities, in affordable and sustainable ways. Studying this issue in cooperation with a major and reputable private sector partner seemed the ideal way to balance development goals with private sector realities.”

In the words of Thierry Albrand, Vice President Digital Bridge for Alcatel, “Since the global economy is increasingly linked to information and communication, reducing the growing inequalities in access in technologies is a priority. Yet in order to meet the developing countries needs for telecommunications services in appropriate and affordable ways, we have to be creative both technologically and financially. Alcatel is already playing an active role in bridging the digital divide and was eager to work with this unique partnership of international development agencies to help develop some answers to these tough questions.”

infoDev is organizing a major Forum on these and related issues at the Summit, while Alcatel will participate in round tables and keynote speeches and will showcase demos.

The report is available on the following websites:

About infoDev (the information for Development Program)
infoDev is a multi-donor partnership with close ties to the global operational capacity of the World Bank, and equally strong relationships with a number of key donors. It helps the donor community and developing countries address the opportunities and challenges of ICT for development. Since its creation in 1995, infoDev has been a pioneer in promoting the innovative use of ICT as a tool for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

About Alcatel
Alcatel provides communications solutions to telecommunication carriers, Internet service providers and enterprises for delivery of voice, data and video applications to their customers or employees. Alcatel brings its leading position in fixed and mobile broadband networks; applications and services, to help its partners and customers build a user-centric broadband world. With sales of EURO 12.3 billion and 56,000 employees in 2004, Alcatel operates in more than 130 countries.


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