President Paul Kagame and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye are among the three recipients of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award 2014.
Mexican philanthropist Carlos Slim, Chairman, Grupo Carso and President of the Carlos Slim Foundation, is the third recipient, according a statement released by the ITU yesterday.
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré broke the news.
The trio was honoured in recognition of their leadership and dedication towards promoting ICT development and broadband connectivity as a means of achieving sustainable development, the United Nations agency said.
“President Kagame is recognised for his leadership in the advancement of education and the potential of ICT as a dynamic industry as well as an enabler for Africa’s socio-economic transformation,” ITU said in the statement.
Rwanda has invested in broadband infrastructure, including the laying of fibre optic cables across the country.
Kagame currently serves as Chairman of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group.
The Republic of Korea was lauded for consistently topping ITU’s ICT Index for Measuring the Information Society.
Park’s Government, the statement said, has unveiled a set of long-term plans that foster creative talent, a move that establishes a new paradigm towards building a vibrant national economy in a digital environment.
Carlos Slim was recognised as a person “commanding a diverse range of business portfolios within the Carso Group, with América Móvil a leading supplier of telecommunications services”.
“He has been committed to the promotion of technologies for development and his philanthropic activities have contributed to social and cultural development ranging from the promotion of arts to support in the areas of education, health, employment generation and community development,” it added.
President Kagame and Slim are Co-Chairs of the ITU-Unesco Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
Touré underscored the importance of broadband infrastructure development in ensuring that ICTs are used innovatively as delivery vehicles for health, education, governance, trade and commerce in order to achieve sustainable socio-economic growth.
“We need to implement national and domestic policies to accelerate the roll-out of broadband and to make it more affordable and accessible to all citizens; it is an effective way to empower people everywhere with information and knowledge to meet their aspirations and to achieve the overall goals of sustainable development,” he said.
The World Telecommunication and Information Society Award 2014 will be presented at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland on May 16 to mark ITU’s 149th anniversary.
Broadband-based ICT networks are seen as powerful cross-cutting enablers to achieve the three pillars of sustainable development – economic growth, social inclusion and environmental balance, ITU says.