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Rwanda showcases its evolution in ICT at the ITU summit in S. Korea

by Patrick Bigabo
3:08 pm

A delegation of Rwandan technocrats is in Busan, South Korea, showcasing Rwanda’s best practices of embracing digital technology for development and achievements in Information Communication technology (ICT).

The team led by the Minister of ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengiyunva, is joining 175 other countries at the fourth International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Conference.

The conference Known informally as PP-14 is held every four years to set a strategic direction of ITU and develop policies and recommendations that address the evolving needs of the Union’s members of which Rwanda is member since 2010.

Minister Nsengimana told the conference that ICT has enabled Rwanda transform into one of the best places to do business in Africa.

He also demonstrated how ICT is saving lives and play a major role in the country’s efforts to to fight poverty.

President Paul Kagame, who is also the co-chair of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development, is expected to attend the conference next week and deliver a key note speech.

At the same time, he will campagn for Rwanda to take over the ITU seat. Zambia and Egypt are the African countries also competing for the seat.

Meanwhile, one of the projects showcased as a success story is the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project,  which has distributed 204,000 laptops to 407 schools countrywide- ranking Rwanda the 3rd largest deployment globally, after Peru and Uruguay.

During the conference, where 3000 participants, who include experts in the sector, policy maker and observer organizations.

Issues of discussion on the agenda include digital inclusion and broadband rollout, broader international cooperation on ICT development, and new strategies to encourage membership and strengthen multi-stakeholder participation.

Rwanda says the conference is inline with its vision that seeks to turn the country into a knowledge-based economy. The country has already laid over 3,000km of a $130m Fibre optic netwok with 4G LET connectivity, covering 95% of the population.

In her opening remarks, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye said telecommunications and ICT have become catalytic in development of the Internet and mobile communications.

“We have reached an inflection point in the hyper-connected digital revolution – a revolution defined by increased connection, smarter connection, and faster connection,” she said.

The conference, which started on October 20 and ends November 7, expected to reach international agreement on establishment of new global ICT development goals and targets under a new framework called ‘Connect 2020’.

By Patrick Bigabo