African leaders defend tax to help third world fight digital divide

COLLAB distinguished with the APDC / Siemens Innovation Award

Leaders from several countries on the African continent are proposing to developed nations to create a kind of tax in the area of ​​technology that will later be used to finance the Digital Solidarity Fund, a United Nations plan to combat the so-called «digital divide» .

At a meeting in Geneva, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika argued that the gap between wealthy northern nations and developing countries in the south was widened by the digital divide. «It is therefore imperative that action is taken at the international level», he stressed.

The Swiss city was the first to voluntarily adopt this tax, starting to charge one percent of the profits made by the suppliers and technology manufacturers of that locality.

The United Nations believes that greater access to information technology in the least developed countries would help to eradicate poverty and build stable democracies. «The only way to end the digital divide is to equip the South with technological devices, such as telephones, faxes, the Internet, and to ensure training in the correct use of them», defends Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

The Digital Solidarity Fund was proposed in 2003 and has so far accumulated $ 6.72 million. Currently, 49 percent of its revenue goes to the 49 poorest countries in the world, 30 percent to developing countries and 10 percent to projects to be conducted in developed nations.

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