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Kagame Weighs in on Global Access to Broadband

by Patrick Bigabo
9:06 pm

“Broadband enables business and social entrepreneurs to offer world class education to populations that have never had access,”  Kagame.

With his influence and powers as co-chair of the broadband commission, President Paul Kagame is pushing countries to use Information Communication Technologies (ICT) as great resource for development.

“My appeal to all of us is to redouble our efforts to place ICTs at the centre of the development agenda,” President Kagame said at the UNESCO summit in Paris France.

He was attending the Broadband Commission meeting which he co-chairs with Mexican billionaire, Carlos Slim.

Kagame noted that; “Broadband technology can enhance efficiency in public administration and accountability to citizens, no matter where they live.”

Irina Georgieva Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Slim and Kagame believe ICT is the future and provides equal opportunities for societies

Irina Georgieva Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, Slim and Kagame believe ICT is the future and provides equal opportunities for societies

The Broadband Commission meeting organised by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and UNESCO draws policy makers, industry leaders and government representatives to discuss affordable and universal access to broadband.

The Commission advocates for a deeper consideration of broadband on the international policy agenda and believes that expanding broadband access in every country is key to accelerating progress.

President Kagame, whose country has had firsthand experience of the role ICT plays in development, said that, “Broadband has helped accelerate progress towards Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) by bringing many people into networks of learning and prosperity”.

Notably, he added that broadband is the ultimate transformation of Africa. It’s about job creation,women and youth empowerment, Kagame said.

He also said access to broadband should be seen as one of the essential ‘defences of peace in the minds of women and men’ and can also be used to deepen appreciation of shared universal values at the heart of every human culture.”

With the plan to transform Rwanda into an information based economy by 2020, investment into ICT infrustructure has facilitated other sectors such as banking, tourism, and public service delivery.

The 3,000Km of Fibre optic cable laid across the country is providing broadband connectivity to 317 institutions in all 30 districts.

So far mobile penetration is estimated to be over 71.6%, with plans to lift internet usage to 95% by 2017 from the current 25%. This is eventually expected to boost Rwanda’s GDP by 13%.

The Fourth Generation Long-Term Evolution (4G-LTE) connectivity is expected to increase ICTs contribution to GDP by 4% this year.

President Kagame said that deliberations at the Broadband Commission were aimed at “how broadband can help us to secure a better future”.

He said that Broadband has become a way of life, a way of business, and levels the field for everybody to play and benefit equally.

Meanwhile, at the meeting, Kagame and Slim were awarded the UNESCO 70th Anniversary medal for their work on broadband.