Premier calls for strong partnership to boost ICT
Strong partnership between the government and the private sector is needed to promote the growth of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and it should be on the development agenda of any African nation, Prime Minister Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has said.
He made the call yesterday when he opened a three-day annual International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Development Forum in Kigali.
The high level meeting focuses on enabling developed and developing countries to promote an equitable and sustainable development of ICT networks and services.
Attending the meeting are six ministers from Africa responsible for ICT and about 150 participants from the respective ministries, regulatory bodies, operators and key stakeholders in the sector from Africa and beyond.
The forum, which is organised by ITU in collaboration with the government of Rwanda, is held under the theme Promoting Equitable Access to ICT.
“African governments should fully engage the private sector and all other stakeholders in the industry to develop a strong ICT (sector) because it is a pillar of socio-economic development of any country,” he said.
Habumuremyi observed that Rwanda has invested heavily in building an ICT infrastructure to create an enabling environment for the sector’s development, which will enable the country to become a knowledge-based economy in a few years.
As part of the infrastructural rollout, the government has put in place a national fibre optic network that has spread across the country to ease internet connectivity.
“Governments, as well as private sector, civil society and the United Nations and other international organisations have an important role and responsibility in the development of an information society and, as appropriate, decision-making processes,” he noted.
“Building a people-centred information society is a joint effort which requires cooperation and partnership among all stakeholders”.
Abdoulkarim Soumaila, the Secretary General of African Telecommunications Union (ATU) said that strong collaboration between the government and the private sector group should drive the growth of ICT sector in Africa.
“Our aim is to see Africa fully connected to ICT as a means to bridge the digital divide,” he noted.
Soumaila urged Africa governments to speed up the digital migration transmission process before the 2015 deadline.
According to Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister of Youth and ICT, the forum is a platform to engage other African countries in sharing ICT ideas and experiences.
“We are proud to host this high level forum. It shows how ITU recognises Rwanda’s efforts in promoting the use of ICT in the development process,” he noted.
Nsengimana observed that since 2000, the country has been building the ICT infrastructure emphasising that it is now time for Rwandans to utilise the facility.
Andrew Rugege, the Director of ITU regional office for Africa, said the meeting would assess the member states on ICT activities in all sectors, obtain feedback and consult on various issues relevant to the mandate.
“We expect to obtain views of member states on partnership and collaboration in realising the outcomes of the previous ITU Conferences,” he said.
The meeting would also mark the International Girls in ICT Day and the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, respectively.
Every year on April 4 and May 17, the ITU and member states celebrate the International Girls in ICT Day and the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.
Contact email: frank.kanyesigye[at]newtimes.co.rw