Broadband ‘indispensable for development’, says Rwandan president

Broadband indispensable for development says Rwandan presidentRwandan president Paul Kagame emphasised the importance of broadband in achieving sustainable development at the ninth meeting of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development in Dublin, Republic of Ireland from 22-23 March 2014

President Kagame, who co-chaired the event, 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,” he added.

Kagame also stressed the importance of honest dialogue and co-operation between the public and private sector.

“The broadband model we have adopted is based on effective public-private partnership, guided by what works on the ground. We believe that there must be candid and consistent dialogue between industry and government - the kind that will generate trust and productivity,” Kagame said.

The president called on 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,” Kagame said.

“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 continued.

The meeting concluded with various recommendations, including the need for governments and international financing bodies to work closely to remove barriers to investment and the establishment of a champion’s league index that will track best practice in broadband investment and deployment.

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.

Alongside Kagame, the Commission is co-chaired by Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helú, with ITU secretary-general Dr Hamadoun I. Touré and UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova as co-vice-chairs.

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