Recognizing the developmental opportunities offered by digital technologies and the need for developing countries and developed countries to collaborate to exploit such opportunities, the World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) was initiated by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) and is organized by IFIP every second year since 2003 in cooperation with the government of the host country and many other stakeholders.
WITFOR contributes to taking the World Summit on the Information Society's (WSIS) Plan of Action a step forward and to helping developing countries to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). WITFOR investigates successful, sustainable ICT strategies in developing countries and examines different initiatives and projects on effective, context sensitive development and use of ICT applications. In particular the WITFOR events are intended to:
- Help put ICT-enabled development initiatives on the agenda of different organizations, governmental bodies, and groups currently involved in information and communications technologies.
- Work with different groups to ensure that the issue of ICT diffusion and sustainable effective use is on the agenda of senior policy makers and political leaders.
- Assist international organizations and donor agencies to build issues of the spread of ICTs and access to information into their loan and funding programmes with adequate financial and institutional allocations.
- Be more pro-active in using new technologies explicitly to reduce existing social tensions and conflicts.
- Encourage scholars, analysts and researchers to put the issue of electronic equity higher on their research agendas.
- Make an analysis in industrialized nations, as individuals and groups, to listen to and learn from colleagues around the world about their unique concerns over access to technology.
- Develop guidelines on these issues and advise governments, to formulate and follow the best strategy for the use of ICT in order to achieve global ICT-equity.
This work is conducted in eight thematic commissions and the result of this preparatory work is presented as policies, initiatives and best practices every second year in the conference.
The inaugural WITFOR was held in Lithuania, in 2003. The second was held in Botswana, in 2005, the third one in Ethiopia in 2007. The 2009 edition in Vietnam will bring together an expected 1500 delegates, including ICT Ministers, senior policy-makers, academics, NGOs and GOs, ICT experts and the private ICT sector.