My brief presentation will address three issues:

a) Knowledge Economy
b) Mutual Understanding and
c) The Role of Universities & the Media

My thesis in this contribution is that wide disparities in the attainment of Knowledge¬based Economies in the Tri-Continent hamper Mutual Understanding and that Deliberate Efforts should be pursued by Institutions of Higher Learning and Media Organizations to address the deficit for the benefit of the Initiative.

Economic benefits of the Tri-continental Initiative cannot be realized without a thorough commitment to the use of knowledge technologies that are transforming many economies throughout the world. It is not a new phenomenon that industrialized economies are transiting very fast to become knowledge-based economies depending mostly on services. The challenges however are that some parts of the Americas and most parts of Africa are still struggling under labor intensive agricultural policies and practices that do not project any transition even to the industrialized community. Where this takes an ambitious tri-continental initiative is that most members subscribing to the Initiative may be left behind in the construction of an Information Society in which the creation, distribution, diffusion, use, and integration of information may considered a very significant economic, political and cultural activity.

There is no doubt that effective and strategic use of technical knowledge has determined in large part the levels of economic development in various countries. In the three regions of the Tri-continent, there are different stages of scientific and technical development which inform the various ways in which the understanding of issues can be exploited. How therefore, can there be Mutual Understanding when there are large disparities in economic, technical and information dispositions?

My contention is that institutions of higher learning and media organizations have an obligation to reduce the gap and ensure appropriate economic exploitation of that mutual understanding.

I propose the following:

. Media organizations in the Tri-Continent should place on their high priority agenda the business of enhancing the significance and the need for a Tri¬-continental Initiative;

. Media organizations should exchange and publish information on their various countries, in special areas such as the importance of adopting policies that advance scientific and technical knowledge in this age of information and communication revolution;

. Media organizations should support civil society calls for the digitization and informatization of public and private activities that will increase productivity.

. Institutions of higher learning have even a greater role of taking inventory of human resource capabilities vis a vis Knowledge Economy and Information Society and designing academic and professional programmes to pursue the urgent needs of society;

. Universities need to intensify programmes in Research and Development into modern trends in changing societies in collaboration with relevant Government agencies;

. Universities, the Media and Intellectuals should collaborate to increase awareness for life-long scientific and technical learning that will make use of the rapidly changing knowledge base.

. Governments in the Tri-Continent, who have not done so, should invest massively in science and technical education, software development, and service delivery.

In Conclusion, I submit that:

. Scholars, Government, Civil Society, Private and Public entrepreneurs in the Tri-Continent should communicate regularly to exchange views, experiences and opinions;

. Universities and the Media should produce and disseminate technical and scientific education and information in the quest to prepare adequate skilled manpower;

. Knowledge Economies can only be built upon information, education, technical know-how and reliable databases; and that

. Mutual understanding will be closer to realization when our economies are mutually able to respond to the constant changes being experienced every day.

Thank you.

KOJO YANKAH, President, African University College of Communications, Accra, Ghana
Website: www.aucc.edu.gh

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