16 May 2014

Rwanda: President Kagame Receives WTISD Award

Geneva — President Kagame today received the 2014 World Telecommunication Information Society Award along with President Park Geun-Hye of Korea and Carlos Slim Helu, chairman of Grupo Carso and President of the Carlos Slim Foundation. The award is presented by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to individuals who have made exceptional contribution to improving lives of world citizens through ICTs.

In remarks following presentation of the award, President Kagame said:

"I want to express the sense of honour I feel in receiving this award. I do it in the humblest of ways knowing that this is an award of value that builds on the efforts of all Rwandans that have worked hard and embraced the policies and strategies of our development, that in a big part have been driven by ICT. This is the result of their efforts and progress and working together in our country, and also working notably with ITU that has been very supportive of efforts in Rwanda."

President Kagame commended the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and ITU Secretary General, Dr Hamadoun Toure who he said had kept the ICT agenda relevant in socioeconomic development of countries.

Responding to a question at a round table following the awards ceremony, President Kagame said that Rwanda's ICT strategy is based on integrating key sectors in a system that combines connectivity, enabling policy and regulatory framework, as well as ‎skills development and networks.

President Kagame, who co-chairs the Broadband Commission with Carlos Slim Helu, chairman of Grupo Carso, ‎reiterated the importance of public/private partnerships in developing the ICT sector. He pointed out that it was a win-win situation and that no one entity can do everything that needs to be done on its own.

In his keynote address at the ceremony, Dr Toure called for broadband to be a central element of the post-2015 development agenda. He pointed to the increased investment in the ICT sector in Africa and noted that since the 2007 Connect Africa Summit, the private sector had invested $70 billion in Africa:

"One example is in 2007 there was no undersea cable connecting the Cape to Cairo, now we have four."

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969 and marks the establishment of the ITU in 1865.

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