ICT is Ethiopia's number one priority

Developing Telecoms receives many emails of support and obtains much of its information from experts working in telecoms world-wide. Here an official from Ethiopia updates us on the very latest situation there...

Sir, I have received Developing Telecoms' request in which you would like to know the kind of ICT projects undertaken in Ethiopia . I would like first of all to thank you for showing such keen interest in Ethiopia's ICT projects...

Presently, the Ethiopian Government has placed ICT top on the national list of priorities. The Government has set aside a huge amount of resources for the development of the sector in our country. The efforts so far exerted have shown encouraging results. Various ICT projects have been undertaken.

 Firstly, the Government has launched what we call the WoredaNet (Woreda is a tier of local government) project which is a terrestrial and satellite-based network whose primary objective is to provide ICT services such as video-conferencing, directories, mail and voice services, as well as internet connectivity at the federal, regional and lowest levels of government. WoredaNet aims to establish a three-tier structure for providing ICT services to the public. It aims also to connect over 600 Woredas (local governments). Further objectives of the WoredaNet include:

  •  to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural communities;
  •  to provide knowledge and information to citizens;
  • to build organisational capacity at all levels of government; and
  • to provide the lowest level of government with accurate and timely information, among others.?


Secondly, the SchoolNet project arises from the need to integrate ICT into Ethiopia 's school system. It is designed to develop a wide area of networks, linking to all schools in the country and making Internet and on-line education accessible to all to them. SchoolNet constitutes a key component of e-government and aims at the application of ICT for the purposes of teaching and learning. As a result of the SchoolNet project it has been possible to connect more that 500 Ethiopian high schools.

Thirdly, there is the Rural Connectivity Program (RCP). Under this major initiative we have now started laying 10,000 kilometres of optic fibre network throughout the country and to link this up with our submarine cables. The programme will be completed in the next two to three years as we have already completed the laying of 4,000 kilometres.

The Ethiopian Government has also made plans to ensure universal access and Internet connectivity to all our thousands of rural villages. Upon completion, the programme would enable every citizen to gain access to telephone services at a maximum distance of five kilometres walk.

These are some of the projects undertaken in our country. We look forward to reporting on these and future projects.

With kindest regards,

Ayana Getahun Melesse, Communication Officer,

Ethiopian Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (EICTA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia .

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