18 July 2018

Rwanda Seeks Backing for Another Term in ITU Council

Rwanda has rallied support for its re-election bid to the governing council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN agency responsible for coordinating effective development and use of telecommunications globally.

The ITU council, composed of 46 member states, is responsible for smooth running of the union and setting broad policies that govern telecommunications at a global level.

Rwanda was first elected to the council in 2010 for a four-year term that was renewed in 2014.

The bid was announced at the weekend in Geneva, where Rwandans and friends of Rwanda had gathered to celebrate the 24th Liberation Day.

Speaking to hundreds who attended, the Rwandan ambassador to Switzerland, Dr François Xavier Ngarambe, said that one of the main enablers of Rwanda's transformation journey has been ICT, which he said is now a way of life for the people of Rwanda.

"I firmly believe that through President Kagame's leadership who co-chairs the Broadband Commission, Rwanda will double its efforts in promoting ICT for development across the world and especially in Africa, mainly through Smart Africa initiative and the annual Transform Africa Summit," said Ngarambe who is also Rwanda's permanent representative at the UN in Geneva.

The election for the new council will take place during the 20th Plenipotentiary Conference of ITU to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from October 29 to November 16, 2018.

Present at the event in Geneva were members of different international organisations based in Geneva as well as heads of national telecom/ICT regulatory authorities from around the world who were in the city for the International Telecommunication Union's Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR).

Ngarambe reiterated Rwanda's desire for re-election to the ITU Council and requested member states to support the country's candidature. He pledged the country's commitment to strengthen its contribution to global ICT development agenda.

Also attending the event was Dr Ignace Gatare, Chairman of the Board of Regulatory Authority of Rwanda (RURA) who provided multiple reasons why Rwanda deserves to be re-elected a member state of the Council of the ITU.

He shared significant efforts and progress made by the Government of Rwanda to become dignified and resilient society by deploying ICT infrastructure, including the national fiber-optic backbone and 4G-LTE mobile broadband networks that cover more than 90% of the national territory.

Gatare, who is also the Principal of the College of Science and Technology of University of Rwanda, said that Rwanda hosts centres of excellence in IoT and data science, among others.

He reaffirmed Rwanda's position as a committed partner of the ITU family and expressed hope that, through the annual Transform Africa Summits, the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and other projects, the country will continue to play its role in building a brighter and sustainable digital future.

The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication, Union Houlin Zhao, who also attended the celebrations, praised Rwanda and its leadership for the efforts made in transforming the country.

Zhao expressed ITU's readiness to work with Africa to bring the power of ICTs to all nations and transform people's lives, but, most importantly, he supported Rwanda's candidature and asserted that, once re-elected, Rwanda will continue to play an important role in advancing the digital revolution.


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