AFRICAN UNITY AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
….. The expansion and improvement of the intra-African telecommunications network is one of the basic necessities to attain our goal of African unity. If we consider the present state of African telecommunications, we note that when any African country communicates with another African country by telephone or telegram it must often be made through transit centres situated outside Africa. These circuits are consequently expensive and often technically unusable and certainly not rapid. If this situation is not rectified in the near future the development of Africa in all fields will be seriously handicapped.
Rapid communication between African countries is one of the most important tools by which we can promote development in Africa. It is to be remembered that we have discussed this problem several times, but the anticipated progress of intra-African communications has not been achieved.
It is believed that you are here today to discuss collectively the Dakar African Telecommunications Plan of 1962, and the World Telecommunications Plan of Rome of 1963 and the methods by which the implementation of these plans can be achieved.
To fulfil those plans immediately on a continental basis would inevitably call for very heavy investment. It will thus probably be necessary to implement them step by step in accordance with our economic capabilities.
We, therefore, hope that you will make a serious effort to carry out your task and reach a successful solution and that this conference will mark a milestone in the development of African telecommunications. …..
Mar. 8, 1966.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 574 –