President Paul Kagame has called for accelerated efforts to increase broadband connectivity across the world, saying it will play an important role in tackling obstacles to global prosperity and well-being.
President Kagame was speaking at the Broadband Commission Meeting held on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, US.
Linking the role of Broadband and achieving progress set out in the global goals for sustainable development, Kagame said the former can accelerate progress in overcoming the biggest obstacles to global prosperity.
The global goals were set last year in September whereby world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development aimed at ending extreme poverty, inequality and addressing climate change by 2030.
“The global goals provide both a useful framework, and also the opportunity, to raise our focus beyond connecting people towards innovation, transformation and growth. This requires even bolder thinking and organisation, and higher expectations of everyone involved,” the President said.
As things stand, Kagame said that there was a disconnect as more than half of the world’s population still do not have access to the internet especially in the developing world.
“As developed countries turn their focus to the higher end of these technologies, whether it is the Internet of Things, Big Data and other emerging areas, developing countries have to work harder and smarter to both catch up and take advantage of this next phase of the digital revolution,” the President said.
The anticipated phase of digital revolution, often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution experts say will involve a range of new technologies that will combine the physical, digital and biological aspects, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries.
Transform Africa Summit
The President also extended an invitation to participants at the broadband forum to the Transform Africa Summit, scheduled to take place in Kigali from October 19 to 21.
At the forum, African leaders of government, business leaders and other stakeholders from across the world will be meeting to deliberate on social economic transformation based on ICT.
During this edition of the summit, special focus will be on how countries can harness ICT to make African cities more sustainable and economically vibrant.
This will be the third edition of Transform Africa Summit.
Commenting on the importance of broadband, Houlin Zhao, ITU secretary-general and co-cice chair of the Commission said.
“Investment in infrastructure for the roll out of broadband remains a major challenge that requires a more concerted effort and innovative public-private partnerships if we are to connect everyone, everywhere.”
Yesterday’s Broadband Commission meeting addressed two specific challenges; how broadband can support the equitable provision of health and education in all countries and how to achieve the investment levels required for the rollout of global broadband infrastructure that connects everyone.
According to the commission, the deployment of broadband plays a critical role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Latest estimates by the commission, show that 59 million children are out of school, and 38 million people die annually from non-communicable diseases– while broadband can reduce these numbers by making education and lifelong learning, as well as public healthcare more available, accessible and potentially equitable.