This is the first African Networking Symposium organized by the Internet Society as part of the INET Conference series. It comes at a critical moment when Africa is at the threshold of achieving basic connectivity in almost all her countries.

It is therefore a crucial time for planning the next steps of spreading the Internet in Africa - Beyond Basic Connectivity. This enormous task requires mobilizing the key contributors, and the Symposium is an instrument for bringing together the players and highlighting the priority issues for our planning purposes. The Symposium offers an opportunity to tap the world resources and talents that the Internet Society is famous for assembling at its conferences. For this, the vision and facilitation of the Symposium by the Internet Society is deeply appreciated.

The Symposium has attracted fourteen strong, peer-reviewed papers covering all regions of the continent and the key themes on the state, evolution and future of the Internet in Africa. The papers report on initiatives at national, regional and continental levels, by both continental and extra-continental players.

The issues and concerns discussed range from the global, such as commercialization, coverage, technical developments; through infrastructure, capacity building and policy environments; to those that carry a uniquely African flavor reflecting the continent's social, economic, political and cultural realities.

A vibrant beginning has been made in planting the Internet in Africa. The continent is now ready to chart the way forward, and face the future with confidence.

Nii Narku Quaynor
Alex R. Tindimubona
Kuala Lumpur, 18 June, 1997

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