The World Bank and Leading High-Tech Executives Band Together To Grow Technology in Africa; Group Forms `Africa Technology Forum’ And Outlines Agenda During Africa Forum 2000

The World Bank and Leading High-Tech Executives Band Together To Grow Technology in Africa; Group Forms `Africa Technology Forum’ And Outlines Agenda During Africa Forum 2000

Business Editors/Hi-Tech Writers

Africa Forum 2000

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 30, 2000

The World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Africa Club and top executives from several multinational high-technology companies today announced the formation of the Africa Technology Forum, a global non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing business relationships within the African high-technology community.

The announcement came at the opening of the Africa Forum 2000, a weeklong African business conference sponsored by the Africa Club in Washington, D.C.

“By bringing together an exclusive group of African entrepreneurs and companies with interests in Africa, we will foster the exchange of ideas and establish bonds that will serve as the building blocks for a new generation of thinking and entrepreneurship,” said Rebecca Enonchong, CEO and founder of Application Technologies Inc. and a founding member of the Africa Technology Forum. “We look forward to working with the Africa Club and similar organizations so that together we can catapult Africa to the forefront of the economic and technological revolution that is spreading around the world,” said Enonchong.

Although there has been some progress in the development of technology in Africa, the continent still lags far behind the rest of the world in many areas. It is estimated, for example, that while Africa currently makes up over 10 percent of the world’s population, less than one percent of the world’s Internet users are in Africa.

The U.S. Internet Council’s State of the Internet Report 2000 places the number of African Internet users at 2.5 million, compared to 136 million users in North America, 83 million in Europe and 69 million in Asia. South Africa is the only African nation with more than one million Internet users according to the report.

In addition to serving as a platform for African-associated technology executives and companies to exchange ideas and intelligence, the Africa Technology Forum will create an environment in Africa that will encourage the growth of high technology through such initiatives as:

— The establishment of an online information clearinghouse on African

technology

— Virtual “field trips” to successful high-technology companies, also online

— Networking events held around the world

— Mentoring programs that foster African entrepreneurship

— Corporate participation in community outreach programs

“One goal of the Africa Forum 2000 is to help African entrepreneurs and those in the U.S. meet and exchange ideas,” said Debbie Banda, Secretary-General of the Africa Club, formerly with America Online Inc. (AOL). “The formation of the Africa Technology Forum is a great example of the kind of relationship building that will take place throughout the weeklong Africa Forum 2000,” said Banda.

In addition to Enonchong, founding members of the Africa Technology Forum include Alberto Olympio, co-founder and Technical Director of Galaxie Informatique International, a leading information and communications technology company; and Noah Samara, Chairman and CEO of WorldSpace Corporation, the worldwide pioneer in direct-to-receiver satellite audio service.

In order to be considered for membership, individuals must hold key executive posts at multinational high-technology companies and have an interest in promoting African technology concerns. Corporate memberships are available to multinational tech companies with the same type of African interests.

“Today’s African technology leaders, as well as others within the industry, must work together to encourage entrepreneurship in the African community by sharing the latest ideas and intelligence on the high-tech industry,” said Galaxie’s Alberto Olympio.

“With the introduction of new technologies in Africa, the opportunity for economic prosperity throughout the continent is enormous,” said WorldSpace CEO Noah Samara. “The Africa Technology Forum provides a unique opportunity for technology executives who share a common vision to form relationships that will earn Africa its rightful place in the new economy,” added Samara.

About the Africa Club

The Africa Club was established over three decades ago as an association of African staff of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It currently has a membership of over 1200, including staff of African origin as well as non-Africans who support the Club and consider themselves friends of Africa. The Africa Club has one of the highest concentrations of African professionals in any single institution in the world.

In addition to their technical expertise, members of the Africa Club possess a wide range of unique talents and their diverse socio-cultural backgrounds enhance the quality and the relevance of the contributions of the World Bank and IMF to development work.

About the Africa Technology Forum

The Africa Technology Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering high-technology entrepreneurship in the African community by providing a forum for members to share ideas and intelligence on the high-tech industry. Its mission is to create an environment in Africa that will encourage the growth of the high-tech industry throughout the continent. More information about the Africa Technology Forum can be found at www.africatechforum.com.

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