President Paul Kagame yesterday co-chaired the 9th meeting of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. The two day meeting discussed three main themes: Broadband and the MDGs, Changing Roles of Telecom Operators and Content Providers, Challenges and Solutions for Rural Broadband.
In his opening remarks, President Kagame emphasised the importance of broadband in achieving sustainable development.
"Access to knowledge, information and technology will play an important role in breaking the cycle of poverty", he said.
"For us in Rwanda, broadband and ICTs play a major role in the progress we have so far made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Broadband and ICTs contribute to our economic growth and help deliver more efficiently in education, health, finance and banking and other sectors," the President told the forum.
He called on the members of the Broadband Commission to move beyond infrastructure and focus on ensuring access and affordability to services.
"Our initial focus was putting in place the infrastructure and tools to connect citizens to the digital era, and accelerating roll-out and affordability of broadband services, especially for mobile broadband. We should now focus on unleashing the smart use of broadband to help people use services in ways that will significantly improve their lives," he said.
President Kagame reminded leaders in the ICT industry, policy makers, international agencies, to have a candid and consistent dialogue between industry and government that will generate trust and productivity.
Established in 2010, the Commission is a top-level advocacy group which focuses on strategies to make broadband more available and affordable worldwide, with particular emphasis on accelerating progress towards the eight UN Millennium Development Goals.
The Commission is co-chaired by President Kagame and Mexico's Carlos Slim Helú, with ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré and Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova as co-vice-chairs.
Members of the Commission include some of the world's most prominent leaders from the tech sector, government, and UN agencies.