G7 hosts info society conference for developing countries

The Group of Seven most industrialised countries next week will invite the developing world to participate in a series of projects designed to plug them into the global information infrastructure.

The projects will be discussed during the Information Society and Development conference on May 13 to May 15 in South Africa, says Carlo Trojan, the European Commission official in charge of the conference.

The projects, approved during the Information Society Forum held here in February 1995, cover 11 areas -- including the development of electronic libraries, health care and education -- that would be particularly valuable for developing countries, Trojan says.

The conference will also emphasise how existing projects financed by the European Union in the developing world could be improved through the introduction of information technologies, he says. Such existing projects cover, for example, the management of natural resources.

The EU is organising the conference in the belief that without the developing world participating in the information society, the gap between it and the G7 countries will widen, Trojan says.

The conference will bring together officials from a total of 40 countries spanning the wealthy nations of the G7 (France, Germany, Italy, UK, the EU, Canada, Japan and the US) and countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America including Angola, Tanzania, Jordan, Syria, India and Argentina. Israel and Russia have also been invited.

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