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The African Association of Cancer Registries was founded during the 1994 IACR meeting in Bangalore, India. Representatives of the cancer registries in Africa participating in the 2003 AORTIC Fourth International Conference on Cancer in Africa, which took place in Accra, Ghana on 6-10 October 2003, took the opportunity to hold a meeting of the Association. The registries of Dakar (Senegal), Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire), Calabar (Nigeria), Conakry (Guinea), Bamako (Mali), Niamey (Niger), Brazzaville (Congo), Libreville (Gabon), Yaounde (Cameroon), Eldoret (Kenya), Moshi (Tnzania), Harare (Zimbabwe), Blantyre (Malawi), Transkei and the National Pathology Registry of South Africa were represented. Participants described the situation of their own registries, and identified common problems and issues - and future priorities for research and cancer control.