A workshop on “The Role of Members of Parliament in building an Inclusive Information Society towards Accelerating the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)” opens in Swaziland.


26 May 2010
Mbabane, Swaziland

In response to the request of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Swaziland to the Economic Commission forAfrica (ECA) for assistance in developing an ICT Strategy for Parliament, the ICT and Science & Technology Division (ISTD) in collaboration with the ECA Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa is organising a 2-day workshop on “The Role of the Members of Parliament (MPs) in building an Inclusive Information Society towards Accelerating the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”. More than forty (40) MPs and staff, including the President of the Senate, Deputy Speaker of the House, senior officials from the Ministry of Information andCommunication Technologies, gender and NICI focal points are in attendance.

The objectives of the workshop include the establishment of an ICT Committee within the Parliament; engaging all MPs and staff on the development of an ICT Master Plan; and enhancing awareness and understanding of the role of Parliament in building a Knowledge Economy.

The workshop also serves as a platform to increase the understanding of MPs on their vital role in supporting the implementation of the national ICT policy and strategies through the creation and strengthening of the ICT Committee function within the Parliament.

 In her welcoming remarks, Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Esther Dlamini, noted that “The topic of ICT is intimidating and most of the time relegated to the bottom of our agendas but it has persistently emerged as a major influence in our daily lives and in the development of our region.” She added that “ICT cannot be ignored and therefore MPs cannot be followers of ICT, but must emerge as leaders and catalysts of a new enterprising society of enlightened people and prosperous nation.”

In his opening remarks Mr. Sizo D. Mhlanga, Chief, ICT Policy and Development Section, ISTD, ECA concurred that “ICTs have become an important strategic tool in developed and developing countries for promoting competitiveness and stimulating economic growth in addition to lowering public service delivery costs in all sectors.” He reaffirmed ECA’s resolve “to empower MPs as well as staff of Parliaments to utilize ICT tools and gain adequate knowledge on Information Society issues so as to increase their efficiency and effectiveness.”

Within the same period, a parallel activity is being held with Ministry of Information & Communication Technologies and other stakeholders to review the NICI Plan for Swaziland. The final product of this is expected by the end of June 2010.

This workshop is being organized within the framework of the ECA-Finland Cooperation on ICT Development in Africa.

For more information, please contact: Sizo Mhlanga (smhlanga@uneca.org)

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