Annan calls on G8 to address digital divide

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on leaders of the world's richest nations to help spread information technology to the world's poor nations.

          United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on leaders of the world's richest nations to make efforts at the upcoming G8 Leader's Summit to bridge the digital divide and spread information technology to the world's poor nations.

          "I urge you to commit yourselves to the goal of making IT accessible to all the world's people, and to make a major commitment of resources for that purpose," said Annan in a letter addressed to the Group of Eight (G8) Summit which has already begun in western Japan. Portions of the letter were released Tuesday by the UN.

          The summit culminates on the weekend of July 21 to 23 when leaders from the world's seven largest industrialised nations plus Russia meet to discuss a variety of issues. Top of the agenda is information technology and leaders hope to sign the "Okinawa Charter" which directly addresses the digital divide.

          By bridging the so-called digital divide that exists between rich, first-world nations and poor, third-world nations, the poorer countries have a chance to share in the prosperity brought by information technology in areas from health care and education to governance and agriculture and trade, said Annan.

          "Countries in which most people do not have access to IT cannot play a full part in the new global economy," he said.

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