The first ever international conference on information and communication technology (ICT) for development, education and training is to be held at the United Nations conference centre in Addis Ababa 24-26 May 2006. Supported by the European Commission, the meeting aims to provide a forum for members of the public and private sector engaged in the planning and implementation of ICT-supported learning and training in Africa. The three-day event will examine such issues as access to information technologies and connectivity in Africa, eLearning and the fight against HIV/AIDS, empowering traditional universities with ICTs and the use of open source software.

Despite poor telecommunications infrastructure and the lack of hardware and skilled IT technicians Africa is making significant headway in the use of ICT for learning purposes. Notable projects include the African Virtual University (www.avu.org), an independent inter-governmental educational organisation that delivers degree and diploma programmes to African students in conjunction with universities all over the world, and SchoolNetAfrica, an initiative aimed at supporting countries in the use of ICTs in schools at local level.

For more information about the conference in Addis Ababa log on to www.elearning-africa.com.

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