2 March 2006

Nigeria: Diplomats Slow in Adopting ICT - Expert

Lagos — Most diplomats are slow in adapting to the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), as observed by data and secure communications expert based in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Robert Guerra.

He made this observation in a paper delivered at the recently concluded three-day international conference held in Malta, with the theme 'Internet Governance: The Way Forward' organized by Diplo Foundation.

Mr. Guerra who is the managing director of Privaterra, discussed the experience of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and usage of ICT, noted that one of the challenges facing stakeholders, mostly governments on ICT issues have been one of adopting to technologies by diplomats and to get them to make use of the virtual tools remain a challenge.

Another issue militating against stakeholders, he said, is the digital divide rooted in lack of access and bandwidth.

These, he said, are still hindrances, noting the need to choose tools that are readily accessible to all stakeholders, particularly in the developing countries of the world.

Additionally, he said, the issue of language divide could not go unnoticed because the issue of translation needs to deal with.

Mr. Guerra who also sits on the board of the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), equally outlined the usage of ICTs by CSOs, saying they deploy the tools in sharing of information, discussion, dialogue, policy development to mention a few.

This, he said, is evident in the usage of mailing list, mail, blog and several others in what he described as 'Asynchronous tools'.

While the synchronous method according to him, CSOs also use ICTs for real-time communications through audio, video, tele and video conferencing.

Mr. Guerra cited the Internet for an instance, a tool that has been in use, saying it has become a known tool and used daily by CSO operatives.

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