Bashir Patel, director of the UK-based Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisations (CTO), said his organization was in the process of bringing together all Pan-African states to establish an African Universal Service Fund and Access Association to address some of the challenges member states face in the continent.
Bashir told a news conference in Lilongwe after the opening of the third annual Connecting Rural Communities Africa Forum that the association would be the first of its kind in the world addressing ICT challenges in the urban and rural areas of the Africa region.
He said the association would pool funds and assist African countries to develop and connect to rural communities, adding that the association would also be in a position to address some of the challenges facing African countries.
He listed these as effective utilization of funds, affordability and sustainability by the users.
"African governments need network extensions and cost effective solutions to serve the needs of their communities for sustainable social and economic development of their respective countries," he said.
He said the forum therefore represented a unique opportunity to share, exchange and gain a better understanding on the developments of connecting rural communities.
Speaking on behalf of Malawi President wa Mutharika, Davis Katsonga, Labour Minister said African governments must realize that ICT’s are catalysts for speedy socio-economic development of the continent.
"The development and utilization of information and communications technologies in all sectors of our economies must be given a priority," he said.